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The Latest: Vehicle search after drug odor ruled illegal

August 10, 2019

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — The Latest on a judge’s ruling that a vehicle search prompted by an odor of marijuana was illegal (all times local):

An eastern Pennsylvania judge has ruled that state police troopers who said they smelled marijuana in a vehicle weren’t allowed to search the vehicle once they were shown the driver’s medical marijuana card.

The (Allentown) Morning Call reports that a Lehigh County judge tossed out evidence cited in support of drug and firearms counts stemming from the Nov. 7 search of the vehicle in Allentown.

“The smell of marijuana is no longer per se indicative of a crime,” Judge Maria Dantos wrote in her opinion filed earlier this month.

Prosecutors must now decide whether to appeal to state Superior Court or try to move forward without the evidence.

Defense attorney Joshua Karoly said the ruling could help change a rule allowing police to search based solely on the odor of drugs.

1 p.m.

An eastern Pennsylvania judge has ruled that state police troopers who said they smelled marijuana in a vehicle weren’t allowed to search the vehicle once they were shown the driver’s medical marijuana card.

The (Allentown) Morning Call reports that a Lehigh County judge tossed out evidence cited in support of drug and firearms counts stemming from the Nov. 7 search of the vehicle in Allentown.

“The smell of marijuana is no longer per se indicative of a crime,” Judge Maria Dantos wrote in her opinion filed Friday.

Prosecutors must now decide whether to appeal to state Superior Court or try to move forward without the evidence.

Defense attorney Joshua Karoly said the ruling could help change a rule allowing police to search based solely on the odor of drugs.

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This story has been corrected to note that opinion came earlier this month rather than Friday.

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Information from: The Morning Call, http://www.mcall.com

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