High Court Upholds Drug Conviction of Man Frisked 

High Court Upholds Drug Conviction of Man Frisked 
Posted by FoM on May 13, 2000 at 07:14:10 PT
Source: StarTribune
A police officer who searched for weapons on a driver he stopped for a traffic violation was justified, the state Supreme Court said Friday in upholding the driver' s conviction on drugs found in his possession during the search. 
In November 1996, Beloit police officer Curt Wald stopped Jose McGill, who was walking away after he drove his car around a barricade, entered a road that was closed for repairs and parked in a driveway. Wald testified he smelled alcohol and marijuana around McGill and decided to conduct sobriety tests. He first searched McGill for weapons and detected a hard, oblong object in McGill' s pocket, according to the court ruling. McGill kept nervously reaching for his pocket and told the officer it was change, but Wald testified that the shape of the object did not seem like change, the ruling said. The officer thought McGill might have a knife, so he handcuffed McGill and removed the object, which turned out to be 13 grams of cocaine tightly wrapped in aluminum foil, according to the ruling. A search of the car also turned up marijuana. McGill pleaded guilty and was convicted of one count of possession of cocaine as a second offender and one count of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. He later appealed his conviction, arguing that Wald did not have reasonable suspicion to frisk him for weapons. The 4th District Court of Appeals upheld McGill' s conviction and the Supreme Court agreed Friday. " This was a lawful protective frisk, and the officer discovered the foil-wrapped package inadvertently, in the reasonable belief that it might be a weapon, " Justice Diane Sykes wrote for the court. Justice Shirley Abrahamson was the lone dissenter on the court. She said Wald should not have searched McGill for weapons based on the facts at hand. " The majority opinion suggests that police officers may infer that anyone who has an odor of intoxicants or marijuana is armed and presently dangerous and may be frisked. I disagree, " Abrahamson wrote. Madison, Wis. (AP) Published Friday, May 12, 2000  Copyright 2000. Note: Now you can view the next 20 Messages on Cannabis News by clicking here or going to the bottom of the front page of CannabisNews. I hope you enjoy the new links and the new feature!CannabisNews & Drug Policy Information: Next 20 Articles:
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