District Court Of Appeal Reverses Trial Court S Denial Of Defendant S Motion To Suppress In Drug Cas
In the case of Smith vs. State, the Fourth District Court of Appeal held as follows:
The District Court reversed the trial court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress in a matter concerning possession of cocaine as well as misdemeanor possession of marijuana. The officer saw an SUV parked in front of a vacant lot inside a residential area at approximately 2:30 a.m. with its lights off and a person seated in the driver's seat. Though the officer saw no criminal activity, the officer turned on his overhead emergency lights, lit up the inside of the SUV with his spotlight, and approached the SUV to check it out. On nearing the automobile, the officer smelled marijuana and then saw contraband while talking to the driver, which led to defendant's arrest. The Fourth District Court of Appeal held that given the totality of the circumstances, the officer "seized" the defendant at what time the police officer parked "catty corner" to defendant's automobile, activated his emergency overhead lights, and used a spotlight to light up the defendant's SUV. Since the officer had no reasonable suspicion to "seize" defendant before the officer detected the odor of marijuana, the 4th District Court of Appeal reversed the denial of defendant's motion to suppress & remanded the matter to vacate the defendant's convictions.
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