Possession w/ Intent to Distribute Class D Substance (Marijuana) -- Taunton District Court

Outcome: Case Dismissed

Description: Mr. B, a 20-year-old chef, was in the car with his friend late at night, driving. The local police pulled him over for having a defective license plate light. While Mr. B gathered his license and registration, the officer smelled an odor of “fresh marijuana.” Upon detecting this odor the officer requested that Mr. B and his passenger get out of the car. They complied. The officer and his partner searched the car; they found several small plastic bags containing marijuana and a black digital scale. Mr. B made no incriminating statements. Mr. B was charged with Possession w/ Intent to Distribute a Class D Drug, to wit Marijuana. Henry filed a Motion to Suppress the evidence, arguing that the mere odor of Marijuana – be it fresh or burnt – was not enough to justify ordering the occupants out of the car; nor was it sufficient to justify the subsequent search. Henry relied on the recent Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court case of Commonwealth v. Cruz, 459 Mass. 459 (2011). The judge agreed. The Motion to Suppress was allowed. The evidence was suppressed. The case was dismissed.