Judge Tosses Out 12 Pounds Of Marijuana In Drug Case

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An Erie County judge has thrown out the evidence -- nearly 12 pounds of high-grade marijuana -- in a drug case that sprouted from a traffic stop in June on Interstate 90.

Judge Michael E. Dunlavey found that the marijuana was not seized as part of a mere encounter between the state police and the defendant, Paul Reid, a 39-year-old Jamaican immigrant and naturalized U.S. citizen, as the police maintained.

Instead, Dunlavey found that the drugs were seized after police detained Reid along the side of the highway for hours without informing him of his rights. He also found that police searched Reid's car without his consent.

With the order, Dunlavey not only threw out the marijuana as evidence to be used against Reid, but also the statements Reid made to police after he was arrested.

"It is with great reluctance that the court must grant the motion to suppress the evidence and any subsequent statements made by Mr. Reid, as a result of this illegal detention," he wrote.

Dunlavey added that his ruling did not prevent authorities from notifying Immigration and Naturalization Services of Reid's conduct.

Reid's lawyer, Stephen Sebald of Erie, welcomed the ruling.

"The law and the U.S. Constitution protect everyone, from soccer moms to NASCAR dads and people like Paul Reid," Sebald said.

"The system worked today for everybody."

Assistant District Attorney Mark Richmond said the District Attorney's Office has not decided whether to appeal the ruling.

"We will review the decision and go from there," he said.

According to court records, Trooper Gary Knott stopped Reid's car, a 1990 Audi with Florida license plates, on I-90 eastbound near the Peach Street exit. The trooper said Reid's rear license plate had a plastic cover that obscured some numbers.

Reid produced his license and registration and proof of insurance. The trooper ran those through the computer system in his car and also checked to see if Reid had a criminal record.

Reid was issued a warning for the license plate cover violation and was initially told he could leave, court records state. But then Knott began questioning Reid about whether he possessed drugs or had ever been arrested. The record search had revealed that Reid had been arrested once in 1998 for possession of marijuana, but that the charges had been dropped.

Reid claimed, however, that he had not been arrested. The trooper then asked to search Reid's car.

He said Reid consented. Reid said he did not consent.

Police removed the back seat of the car and searched the trunk but found no drugs. They then summoned a drug-detecting dog to the scene to sniff Reid's luggage. The dog, which arrived about two hours after the initial traffic stop, signaled that it detected drugs in the luggage.

Police opened Reid's suitcase and found 12 pounds, 11 ounces of high-grade marijuana.

Reid signed a form waiving his rights to a lawyer at the state police barracks. He told police that he obtained the drugs in Cleveland.



News Hawk: Warbux 420 MAGAZINE
Source: Boston Herald.com
Author: Lisa Thompson
Contact: Home - BostonHerald.com
Copyright: 2010 The Boston Herald
Website: Judge tosses out 12 pounds of marijuana in drug case - BostonHerald.com
 
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Yes sir... now if we can keep this going and make them obey and inforce the laws of the land then maybe we have a chance and hope for legalization. I find it upsetting that people think problems will go away with legalization... I say what is to stop them if they keep harrasing the medical side.
 
problems will go away once people are educated. All they need is a little bit of time after it has been legal to see that it is not causing all the problems they expected. Like Holland, the use numbers will go down over time till it finds a stable spot.