State v. McLaughlin, 081517 MESUP, CR-2016-309

Docket Nº:Criminal CR-2016-309
Party Name:STATE OF MAINE v. MARCUS MCLAUGHLIN, Defendant.
Case Date:August 15, 2017
Court:Superior Court of Maine
 
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STATE OF MAINE

v.

MARCUS MCLAUGHLIN, Defendant.

Criminal No. CR-2016-309

Superior Court of Maine, Kennebec

August 15, 2017

          ORDER ON MOTION TO SUPPRESS

         This matter comes before the court on the Defendant's Motion to Suppress all evidence obtained as a result of a traffic stop that occurred on December 14, 2016 in Augusta, Maine that led to his arrest and prosecution for aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs. An evidentiary hearing was held on May 18, 2017 where the court heard testimony from Detective Michael Bickford and Deputy Aaron Moody of the Kennebec County Sheriff's Office. At the hearing, the court also accepted into evidence certain documents by agreement and took judicial notice of the court's own docket.

         In his motion, the Defendant argues that law enforcement did not have reasonable articulable suspicion to justify the traffic stop. The State argues that the stop was legally justified because the operator of the vehicle in which the Defendant was a passenger was under court ordered conditions at the time of the traffic stop that subjected her to random search and testing for illegal drugs. The State offers no other justification for the traffic stop.

         To determine the constitutionality of a traffic stop, the court must decide whether the police acted "on the basis of 'specific and articulable facts which, taken together with rational inferences from those facts, reasonably warrant that intrusion.'" State v. Griffin, 459 A.2d 1086, 1089 (Me. 1983); Terry v Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 21, 88 S.Ct. 1868, 1880, 20 L.Ed.2d 889 (1968). For a stop to be justified, "the court clearly must find that the police actually had such a suspicion at the time of the investigatory stop." State v. Chapman, 495 A.2d 314, 317 (Me. 1985). The stop can't be justified by information obtained after the time of the stop. Id.

         The only factual issue in dispute here is whether the law enforcement officers involved in the traffic stop actually knew that the operator of the vehicle in question was on court ordered conditions at the time of the stop1.

         What should be a simple factual determination is complicated by the uncertain testimony of Detective Bickford and the inconsistencies in the officers' written reports.

         In his testimony...

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