Visible Rolling Papers No Grounds for Search

Police may not search a vehicle and its occupants merely because they see cigarette rolling paper in the car, the Appellate Division of New York State Supreme Court has ruled* The decision overturned the misdemeanor guilty plea of one Lloyd Baldon on the grounds that the lower Court of Claims should have granted an earlier defense motion to suppress as evidence a bag of marijuana found in the defendant's. pocketv

Raldon was aire sled after two policemen approoched a car illegally parked on a sidewalk, and while inspecting the license and registration of the driver, they saw cigarette rolling paper on the auto's seat. The officers ordered three other men out of the car and found a bag of grass on Baldon when they frisked him.

In a four-to-one ruling, the Appellate Division said that "the fact that a police officer has knowledge that marijuana is often used in connection with cigarette rolling paper" does not justify a search.

"Cigarette rolling paper is a commodity that is openly bought and sold in the marketplace;' the court said in a written memorandum opinion. "That it also may be frequently used in the furtherance of an illicit scheme" does not give "probable cause" foraseaich.

"Thus;* the couit concluded, "the officer's observation of cigarette rolling papersjin the car, although arguably suspicious, is susceptible of various innocent interpretations."

Associate Justice Reid S. Moule of Buffalo dissented: "The facts here: ares sufficient to give rise to more? than a mere suspicion in the police officer's mind that marijuana might be found. Circumstances which would lead a reasonably prudent police officer to believe that a clime has been or is in the process of being committed justified the search:'

Continue reading here: Search and Seizure

Was this article helpful?

0 0