Washington v. Fry

228 P.3d 1, 168 Wash. 2d 1 (2010)

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Washington v. Fry

Washington Supreme Court
228 P.3d 1, 168 Wash. 2d 1 (2010)

Facts

Police officers received a tip that Jason Fry (defendant) was growing marijuana at home. The officers went to Fry’s home and smelled burning marijuana. Fry did not agree to a search of the home and told the officers that he had a lawful prescription for medical marijuana. Fry’s wife gave the officers a document from Fry’s physician authorizing Fry to use medical marijuana to treat debilitating anxiety, depression, and rage. The officers had no reason to question the document but nevertheless obtained a search warrant and found more than two pounds of marijuana, live marijuana plants, and various items for growing and using marijuana in Fry’s home. Fry was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana. Before trial, Fry moved to suppress the marijuana found during the search, arguing that the search warrant was invalid because Fry’s authorization to use medical marijuana negated the officers’ probable cause to believe that Fry had committed a crime. Fry also indicated an intent to present a medical-marijuana defense at trial pursuant to the medical-marijuana law in effect in Washington at the time, which exempted those with a terminal or debilitating illness from conviction for possession of marijuana if a licensed physician had recommended medical marijuana to treat the illness. The state moved to preclude Fry’s presentation of a medical-marijuana defense because Fry’s conditions were neither terminal nor debilitating. The trial court denied Fry’s suppression motion and agreed with the state that Fry’s conditions did not qualify for the medical-marijuana defense. Fry was convicted of possession of marijuana and appealed both of the trial court’s pretrial rulings.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Johnson, J.)

Concurrence (Chambers, J.)

Dissent (Sanders, J.)

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