A judge in Sussex County ruled that the evidence in a marijuana possession case cannot be used at trial.
The defendant in the case is a 24-year-old Sparta man who first alerted police to a serious problem at his residence in October 2013. The victim drove himself to the Sparta police station after he was reportedly stabbed in the chest by his roommate. The victim told the officers that his roommate was still at the residence.
When officers arrived at the scene, they reportedly saw the roommate standing outside by a car. According to police, a bag of marijuana was visible in the open trunk of the vehicle.
After police arrested the roommate in connection with the stabbing, they searched the residence and allegedly discovered 74 grams of marijuana, in addition to drug paraphernalia. However, the officers did not obtain a search warrant until later.
The stabbing victim was charged with illegal possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, serious criminal offenses that carry potential jail time.
Appearing in Sussex County Superior Court to answer the charges, the defendant asked that the case be dismissed because he is a medical marijuana patient. The defendant said that he suffers from Crohn’s disease and has a New Jersey-issued medical marijuana card. Prosecutors countered that the marijuana discovered at the scene had been obtained illegally.
The judge ultimately ruled that the police had illegally seized the evidence of marijuana because they did not have authority to enter the defendant’s home. Specifically, the judge said that there was no emergency need for the officers to enter the home without a warrant because the defendant was at a hospital receiving medical treatment for his wounds.
The judge’s ruling in the case means that prosecutors will not be able to use the evidence of marijuana possession at trial.
To learn more about this case, see the NJ.com article entitled “Judge Tosses Out Evidence in Medical Marijuana Patient’s Possession Case.”
If you are facing marijuana possession charges in New Jersey, contact Morristown NJ criminal defense attorney Travis J. Tormey for a free consultation about your case.