Missouri’s Southern District Appellate Court reversed Edward Dye’s conviction for drug possession, because of a trial court’s failure to suppress evidence of cocaine obtained as a result of a Poplar Bluff, Missouri, officer’s “Terry Stop” in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

The facts at trial indicated that an individual was panhandling, knocking on doors, and asking for rides.  The officer dispatched to the area found Dye, who matched the description given, 300 feet away from the reported incident.  The officer stopped his car, flashed his patrol lights, made contact with the defendant and said that he was going to pat him down for safety.  The officer asked whether the defendant would, instead, perfer emptying his pockets himself.  Dye pulled out a cigarette pack.  The Officer was given permission to search the pack, and, inside, he found cocaine.  Dye was convicted by a jury for cocaine possession.

The appellate court reversed.  First, the officer’s “stop” was unconstitutional.  While an officer is permitted to “Terry Stop” someone that he has a “reasonable suspicion supported by articulable facts . . . is engaged in criminal activity,” this was impossible here.  There was no evidence presented at trial that panhandling was even a municipal ordinance violation in Poplar Bluff.  Thus, there was no criminal activity to engage in.  Second, Dye’s consent to search was too close in time to the illegal detention as to make it voluntarily given.  Consequently, the evidence should have been supressed by the trial court.

Although this was remanded for a new trial, the state will obviously dismiss this one.  It doesn’t take an expert criminal defense lawyer to win a drug possession case when the cocaine is supressed at trial.

The Missouri Criminal Defense Law Opinion:  State v. Edward L. Dye

The content on this post does not constitute legal advice and is for informational purposes only.  You should not act upon the information presented on this website without seeking the advice of legal counsel.  Should you wish to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney, please feel free to contact me directly.

{ 0 comments }

Drug Evidence Inadmissible in Robbery Trial

by dcooley on December 9, 2008

Missouri’s Western District Court of Appeals held that the admission of evidence of “drugs and drug paraphernalia” was inadmissible in a robbery trial, without corroborating evidence of drug habit or addiction.  The State argued that the drug evidence was admissible as evidence of motive.  The Court, however, noted that the record lacked any specific evidence connecting drug use to the offense charged:

“While it is true that evidence of prior drug use may be admissible to explain the defendant’s motive to steal to support a drug habit, the state is not automatically entitled to assume that whenever a defendant is charged with the crime of stealing, evidence of other crimes bearing on motive is automatically admissible.”

View The Missouri Criminal Defense Law Opinion:  State v. Johnny L. Allen

The content on this post does not constitute legal advice and is for informational purposes only.  You should not act upon the information presented on this website without seeking the advice of legal counsel.  Should you wish to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney, please feel free to contact me directly.

{ 0 comments }