Massachusetts v. Cruz
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
945 N.E.2d 899, 459 Mass. 459 (2011)
Benjamin Cruz (defendant) was a passenger in a car that was blocking a fire hydrant in a school zone. Police officers approached the car and detected a faint marijuana odor emanating from the car. At the time, possession of one ounce or less of marijuana was not a crime in Massachusetts. The officers nevertheless ordered Cruz and the driver to exit the car so that the officers could search the car. As Cruz exited, the officers asked whether Cruz had anything on him. Cruz indicated that he was in possession of crack cocaine, which the officers then seized from Cruz’s pocket. Cruz was charged with possession of a controlled substance in a school zone and other crimes. Before trial, Cruz filed a motion to suppress the cocaine, arguing that the officers had no probable cause to search the car and, therefore, no basis to order Cruz to exit the car, which ultimately led to the officers finding the cocaine in Cruz’s pocket. The trial court agreed with Cruz and suppressed the cocaine. The state appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Ireland, J.)
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