Rights Must Be Read Before Search

  Rights Must Be Read Before Search

Posted by CN Staff on July 13, 2006 at 07:09:43 PT
By Jim Provance, Blade Columbus Bureau 
Source: Toledo Blade 

Columbus -- The Ohio Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the state constitution provides greater protection against self-incrimination than the U.S. Constitution as it threw out evidence that helped to convict a motorist of possessing drug paraphernalia.In reversing two lower-court rulings, the high court split 4-3 in finding that evidence obtained from the search of a vehicle's trunk could not be used against the driver when the search was based on questioning begun before the suspect had been read his constitutional rights.
"In cases like this one, where possession is the basis for the crime and physical evidence is the keystone of the case, warning suspects of their rights can hinder the gathering of evidence," wrote Justice Paul Pfeifer for the majority. "When physical evidence is central to a conviction and testimonial evidence is not, there can arise a virtual incentive to flout Miranda."The decision, based on the court's interpretation of the Ohio Constitution, goes beyond the U.S. Supreme Court's interpretation of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The nation's high court has held that, although an improperly obtained statement cannot be used against a suspect, physical evidence garnered as a result of a volunteered statement could.Justice Pfeifer noted that the U.S. Constitution sets a civil liberties minimum that states are free to exceed.He wrote that while an odor of marijuana from the vehicle was probable cause for a search of the passenger compartment, it was insufficient to expand that search to the trunk. A highway patrolman stopped Stephen F. Farris, then 21, for speeding on U.S. Route 30 in Wooster when the trooper detected a light odor of marijuana. The trooper did not immediately arrest Mr. Farris, but placed him in the police cruiser.The officer did not initially advise Mr. Farris of his rights under the U.S. Supreme Court's Miranda decision. When the trooper informed Mr. Farris he was going to search the car, the driver admitted he had a marijuana pipe in a bag in his trunk. The trooper then read him his rights, asked the same questions, and got the same responses.He then proceeded to search the trunk, finding the pipe and cigarette papers. Mr. Farris ultimately pleaded no contest to the charge after the trial court refused to suppress the evidence.The full state Supreme Court agreed that statements made by Mr. Farris before and after he was read his rights on Dec. 18, 2002 were essentially the results of a single interrogation that was tainted from the start. But they were divided on whether that also spoiled the evidence garnered from the search.Writing for the minority, Justice Alice Robie Resnick argued that the trooper didn't need the statement to justify the search."Our precedent makes clear that the smell of marijuana alone, by a person qualified to recognize the odor, is sufficient to establish probable cause to search an automobile ...," she wrote. "Therefore, it is unquestionable that when the officer in this case smelled the odor of burnt marijuana coming from the appellant's vehicle, he had sufficient probable cause to search the automobile, including the trunk ...""Obviously, the Ohio Constitution carries its own weight, so long as it doesn't provide less protection than the federal constitution," Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Jason B. Desiderio said. "The ramifications going forward aren't something we've had time to hash out."Joining Justice Pfeifer in the majority were Chief Justice Thomas Moyer and Justices Maureen O'Connor and Judith Lanzinger. Justices Evelyn Lundberg Stratton and Terrence O'Donnell joined Justice Resnick in the minority.Note: Ohio high court throws out drug evidence.Source: Blade, The (Toledo, OH)Author: Jim Provance, Blade Columbus BureauPublished: Thursday, July 13, 2006Copyright: 2006 The BladeContact: letters theblade.comWebsite: Justice Archives

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Comment #12 posted by tenderbranson30 on July 22, 2006 at 09:39:25 PT:
Hey Wayne... Steve(he is my friend) was very obviously NOT smoking in his car. As I'm sure a super-intelligent person such as yourself is aware, it is illegal in the state of Ohio to operate a vehicle under the influence of marijuana. Would the troopers have released him after the traffic stop if he were intoxicated? Of course not! Also, a search performed on the passenger compartment yielded no evidence. Not even so much as a lighter or matches. The Highway Patrol report also indicates that Steve was clear-eyed, lucid, and calm. All of this might've came to your attention had you taken the time to read the court documents (available online) before gracing us all with your brilliant advice. Furthermore, I'm sure that being in the back of Patrol cruiser is a normal occurence for you, but it isn't for most of us. Steve was caught off-guard and, as he didn't have the State's Constitution in front of him, he was ignorant of his rights. He later became aware of his rights, and subsequently contacted a lawyer. Thanks again for your insight, Wayne.
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Comment #11 posted by afterburner on July 19, 2006 at 07:14:10 PT
Operation M.A.P.S. Highway Blitz
US OH: The Final Numbers Are In:
M.A.P.S. Blitz Produces Positive Results With Locals
(Mon, 17 Jul 2006)
Chillicothe Gazette (OH)Excerpt: "During the 72-hour blitz by Chillicothe City Police, Ross County Sheriff's Office, and the State Highway Patrol, 575 people were arrested with 156 of those booked into the Ross County Jail. More than half of the 40 secret indictments on felony drug charges were served, including one on Scioto Avenue and another on Mt. Tabor Road."(Saturday, July 15, 2006) 
M.A.P.S. proving to be a success
For the Gazette "The Multi-Agency Police Saturation event, implemented through the combined efforts of the Chillicothe Police Department, Ross County Sheriff and State Highway Patrol, began Thursday and will end at midnight tonight."
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Comment #10 posted by gloovins on July 13, 2006 at 18:06:55 PT
you're welcome FoM for the pics!
I made them my monitor's backdrop - try it for a while - all 3 streched out, or just one - looks sensational...I hope everyone asks one cop this summer if cannabis should be regulated like alcohol or cigs &/or if they have ever heard of ... speak & voice OUR opinons - because we ALL know we speak the *truth*Happy July everyone ! ps sorry for the late your welcome FoM I just rarely ever get here for I travel alot (w/ no laptop, on purpose;)
If anyone cares, The Libertarian Party has a great new updated it out
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on July 13, 2006 at 09:31:18 PT

I am not familar with Ken Gorman but I wish him a Happy 60th Birthday. I am hard to shock anymore. I've seen it all before. Around and around we go fighting a system that wants to control every aspect of our lives. The more they push against society in general the further we will withdrawal from the system. Maybe that's what they want to make us all shut up and be quiet. I hope we can turn this around for the sake of the young people who will inherit this world.Thank you for linking CNews on your page. If I don't have your web site on my personal web page I will add it.
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Comment #8 posted by Wayne on July 13, 2006 at 09:31:09 PT

It's because of stupid actions like these that this was even an issue. As most of us know, NORML's website is an excellent source to find answers to questions about this sort of stuff. Some things that could have avoided this situation:1) DON'T SMOKE IT IN YOUR CAR!!! You wouldn't drink a beer in your car, would you?2) Know your rights ahead of time. NORML has your rights spelled out on its website, state by state. If you haven't given the officer any reason to suspect wrongdoing, you can refuse a search of your trunk.This guy Stephen Farris was screwed from the get-go, because a) his car smelled like marijuana, and b) he spilled his guts to the officer before he was even read his rights. He essentially just gave up as soon as he stepped into the cruiser.We can learn something from this. Know your rights, people. Be a safe driver, and don't be smoking pot in your car. And don't let police officers push you around. If you think your rights are being violated, SAY SO. If you still get arrested, you'll have something to fight them with in court.True, this trial was a waste of resources. But it's an even bigger waste, because the defendant could have avoided the whole mess by being a little bit smarter. We need our enemies to know that we are responsible people, and this sort of situation hurts all of us.
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Comment #7 posted by Christen-Mitchell on July 13, 2006 at 09:17:24 PT:

Denver Terror Campaign
Denver voters last fall gave thumbs-up to an initiative that approved possession of one ounce of marijuana for adults. Official reaction was, 'OK, then we'll bust on county or state laws.All I know is that in "Fascist Countries" it's 'Democracy We Like, Not Democracy We Don't Like".After 6 months of a relaxed tone by individual officers, the heat is most definitely being turned up.My good friend spends his nights at the local Taj MaHomeless and his days watching Denver's Worst swoop on tokers in Capital Park. The last three weeks have shown the Man to be very serious about enforcing a new smoking ban.Safer's Colorado Marijuana Initiative is nearly ready to present its 10's of thousands of signatures to place it's legalization proposal on this falls ballot. If the signatures hold, the measure is sure to pass and so tell Denver's prohibitionists 'Shut Up, B****".So the forcast for this weekends celebration is hot, hot, hot. Ken Gorman, one of Colorado's Formost Medical Marijuana Activists, is turning 60. Five bands will toast Ken this Saturday with an allday event in Denver's City Park. Happy Birthday Ken. Keep your head low.
Hemptopia - Our Greener Future
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on July 13, 2006 at 09:08:46 PT

You are right. 
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on July 13, 2006 at 09:04:55 PT

What beautiful pictures. Some people marvel at what man has made like big buildings but nature is what impresses me. Thank you. 
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Comment #4 posted by Truth on July 13, 2006 at 09:04:30 PT

Not only money and time but lives, too.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on July 13, 2006 at 08:58:38 PT

It sure is a waste of money and time.
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Comment #2 posted by gloovins on July 13, 2006 at 08:56:48 PT

The bricks of prohibition are definitly crumbling daily -- few set backs here & there (Raich) however I have anyone at c-news a 1st (for me) A picture of a rainbow against the moon with lightning! I linked it below. I think it has alot more in common thoughts amongs many, many Americans waking up to a plant that could save the planet ... you'd think they would catch on quicker 
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Comment #1 posted by Truth on July 13, 2006 at 08:28:58 PT

What a waste of resources
The guy had a pipe in his trunk....wowNBC has shown that pedophiles are lined up at 14 year olds doors and our police are out attacking an herb.What a waste.
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