Com. v. Valentine

CourtAppeals Court of Massachusetts
Writing for the CourtBefore GREANEY
Citation18 Mass.App.Ct. 965,470 N.E.2d 384
Decision Date26 October 1984

Page 384

470 N.E.2d 384
18 Mass.App.Ct. 965

Appeals Court of Massachusetts,
Argued May 25, 1983.
Decided Oct. 26, 1984.

[18 Mass.App.Ct. 967] James A. Shannon, Quincy, for defendant.

Peter W. Agnes, Jr., Asst. Dist. Atty., for the Com.


[18 Mass.App.Ct. 965] RESCRIPT.

The defendant, Valentine, appeals from a conviction of possession of heroin with intent to distribute. G.L. c. 94C, § 32(a ), as appearing in st.1980, c. 436, § 4. The heroin was discovered by a police officer in a bulky packet in Valentine's rear pants pocket. The circumstances of the warrantless search were as follows.

[18 Mass.App.Ct. 966] While on patrol, the police officer saw an automobile with Rhode Island plates, a "popped-out" trunk lock, and no rear lights. He followed the vehicle, stopped it, and sought a license and registration from Valentine, the driver. Valentine produced a Hawaii license but no registration. At this point, the officer observed traces of smoke in the automobile and smelled what he thought was marihuana. He then directed Valentine to get out of the vehicle, which had four other occupants. As Valentine got out of the vehicle, the officer smelled the odor of marihuana on Valentine's clothing. In addition, the officer observed on the car floor small seeds, some brown vegetable material, and a small envelope, all of which he thought was consistent with marihuana traces. Following a brief conversation, the officer then frisked Valentine, feeling the packet, which he described as "thick and bulky", in Valentine's rear pants pocket. He asked Valentine what it was, and Valentine said, "Nothing." The officer then took the packet and opened it, finding inside ten envelopes made of a material like wax paper, each containing a fluffy white powder which he thought at the time to be cocaine. (Laboratory tests showed it to be 1.1 percent heroin.)

Page 385

He then arrested Valentine for possession of cocaine.

At the voir dire on the motion to suppress, the officer testified that his initial pat down was for the dual purposes of discovering weapons and marihuana. He acknowledged that, when he removed the packet and opened it, he did not think that it might contain a weapon. The judge ascribed the latter testimony to bravado and ruled that, viewed objectively, the officer would have been justified in thinking that the packet might contain a weapon and that the...

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9 cases
  • Com. v. Santana
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • May 3, 1995
    ...(police officer could order driver out of automobile so that license and registration could be verified); Commonwealth v. Valentine, 18 Mass.App.Ct. 965, 966, 470 N.E.2d 384 (1984) ("The 'popped-out' trunk lock [indicative of stolen Page 723 cars] and the absence of rear lights provided the......
  • Com. v. Garden, SJC-09860.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • April 1, 2008
    ...driver for rented van, and large amount of cash on one occupant, gave probable cause to search van); Commonwealth v. Valentine, 18 Mass.App.Ct. 965, 966, 470 N.E.2d 384 (1984) (odor of marijuana on driver's clothes, together with seeds, brown vegetable material, and small envelope in plain ......
  • Com. v. Sanchez, 95-P-216
    • United States
    • Appeals Court of Massachusetts
    • July 25, 1996
    ...door; 1987 make) with a New York license plate. As the car showed no rear lights--a violation of law, cf. Commonwealth v. Valentine, 18 Mass.App.Ct. 965, 966, 470 N.E.2d 384 (1984)--Babbin decided to stop it and check. The car pulled over in response to the cruiser's activation of blue ligh......
  • Commonwealth v. Feyenord, 02-P-1260.
    • United States
    • Appeals Court of Massachusetts
    • October 1, 2004
    ...of a secret compartment or a "popped out" trunk lock. See Commonwealth v. Sinforoso, supra at 324; Commonwealth v. Valentine, 18 Mass. App. Ct. 965, 966 (1984) (finding "popped out" trunk lock and absence of rear lights adequate stimulus for additional investigation of car once stopped). Th......
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