State v. Read, 78-398-C

Citation416 A.2d 684
Decision Date07 July 1980
Docket NumberNo. 78-398-C,78-398-C
PartiesSTATE v. Robert H. READ and Walter T. Field, Jr. A.
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island

Page 684

416 A.2d 684

Robert H. READ and Walter T. Field, Jr.
No. 78-398-C.A.
Supreme Court of Rhode Island.
July 7, 1980.

Page 685

Dennis J. Roberts II, Atty. Gen., Alan R. Tate, Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen., for plaintiff.

Nolan & Dailey, Leo J. Dailey, Coventry, Salvatore L. Romano, Jr., Providence, for defendants.



This case comes before us on an appeal by the state from a ruling of the Superior Court which granted the defendants' motions to suppress certain evidence obtained by Rhode Island park police and state police pursuant to a search warrant. The motions to suppress had been made as a preliminary step in the defense to a criminal information, which had been filed by an assistant attorney general, and which charged defendant Read with three counts and defendant Field with five counts of violating the Controlled Substances Act, chapter 28 of title 21, G.L.1956 (1968 Reenactment), as enacted by P.L.1974, ch. 183, § 2. In general the motions to suppress were directed towards physical evidence seized in the course of a search of a house, garage, and surrounding property and curtilage located on Division Road in West Greenwich, Rhode Island. Among the items seized were marijuana, a .22-caliber rifle, and a single-barrel shotgun from the house and garage, and approximately 1,650 pounds of marijuana which had been growing in fields adjacent to the house. The events leading up to the issuance of the search warrant and the seizure of the physical evidence were as follows.

On September 4, 1977, two auxiliary Rhode Island park police officers were on patrol in one of the gravel-bank sections of the Big River Management Area, owned by the state of Rhode Island. Visitors to this area are subject to an 8 p. m. curfew. Shortly after the curfew began, the officers observed

Page 686

three youths, two of whom took flight at the appearance of the officers. The third youth ran towards an unattended vehicle nearby. As the young man jumped into the front seat of the vehicle, the contents of a cardboard box he was attempting to conceal fell onto the seat and into the officers' view. These contents included twelve clear plastic bags that contained marijuana and marijuana plant stems. Thereupon the officers arrested the youth, who was later identified as Joseph W. Bennett, seventeen years of age at the time of the arrest. The officers advised the suspect of his Miranda rights and informed him that if he cooperated in an investigation, his cooperation would be reported to the proper authorities but that no promises of lenience or other "deal" could be made by the officers. Bennett then told the officers that he had obtained the marijuana earlier that evening from the roof of a two-car garage located at telephone pole number 518, Division Road, West Greenwich. He further stated that the house and field adjacent thereto might possibly be "booby-trapped" with a trip-wire and a shotgun. He stated that he had seen between one and two tons of marijuana growing in the fields and wooded area near the house. He offered to show the officers the location of the property. Bennett accompanied the police to the described premises and pointed out the property as the place from which he had obtained the marijuana.

Thereafter, one of the officers applied to a justice of the Superior Court for a search warrant, supporting the application by the following affidavit:

"Your affiant upon oath states that he has reason to believe and does believe that grounds for such warrant exist and states the following facts on which such belief is founded on the following affidavit. On September 4th, 1977 at about 8:15 PM your affiant, R.I. Park Police officer Chester Welch and officer Griffon were patrolling a gravel bank area off Division Road in West Greenwich, R.I., the property of the State of Rhode Island, Department of Natural Resources when they observed a vehicle at the East End of said gravel bank. It was after the curfew hour of 8:00 PM. Officers Welch and Griffon approached the vehicle to check same out and inform any occupants of said curfew. There were three male subjects on a high bank near the vehicle. When the three subjects spotted the Park Police vehicle two stood at the top of the bank while the other ran toward the parked car. The subject running toward the car and officers Welch and Griffon arrived at the car at the same time. The subject jumped into the front seat and tried to conceal a cardboard box by throwing it across the seat. As he did the contents of said box fell out on the seat in full view of both officers. The other two subjects fled on foot. The contents of the box fell on the seat and was found to contain eleven clear plastic bags of suspect marijuana, one clear plastic bag containing stems from marijuana plants and a pipe used to smoke cannabis marijuana. The subject Joseph W. Bennett, dob:7/19/60 was advised of his arrest for possession of marijuana and advised of his constitutional rights. Joseph Bennett agreed to tell your affiant where the marijuana came from and to cooperate with our investigation. Joseph Bennett was advised that the proper authorities would be advised of his cooperation but no deal could be made. Joseph Bennett advised your affiant that the marijuana in his car, R.I. Registration GV848 had come from a garage located at pole 518, Division Road in West Greenwich, Rhode Island and agreed to show us the location where the marijuana came from. Joseph Bennett advised that the house and field where the marijuan(a) did come from might possibly be booby trapped with a tripwire and a shotgu(n). Joseph Bennett stated that earlier this evening, September 4th, 1977 he and his two companions had been at the garage located at pole 518, Division Rd, West Greenwich and had taken the marijuana from the roof of a two car garage located there and had seen other marijuana growing in the fields and wood near the house. Joseph

Page 687

Bennett stated there was more marijuana in the house and garage and in the fields surrounding the house. The subject, Joseph Bennett stated there was between one and two tons of marijuana on this property located at pole 518, Division Road in West Greenwich, Rhode Island. Joseph Bennett was taken in a police car and pointed out the house and property at pole 518, Division Road in West Greenwich, RI and advised this is where the marijuana came from that was found in his car. It is therefore requested that a search warrant be issued for this property and curtilage and dwelling ther(e)on located at NET&T pole 518, Division Road in West Greenwich, Rhode Island."

On the strength of the foregoing affidavit, the justice issued a warrant authorizing the search of

"(a) white two story wood frame dwelling with glass porch and white two car garage with overhead doors and attic and surrounding property and curtilage located on Division Road, Pole NET&T# 518, West Greenwich, Rhode Island,"

and authorized the seizure of a wide variety of controlled substances including marijuana, or cannabis, ancillary devices such as hypodermic needles and syringes, and a...

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7 cases
  • State v. Pratt, 92-542-C
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • May 13, 1994
    ...has nothing to do with predisposition." We reject the defendant's attempt to create such a new theory of defense. Our holding in Jones, 416 A.2d at 684, makes clear that entrapment, as a matter of law, occurs only "[w]hen the defendant introduces sufficient evidence of inducement to raise t......
  • State v. Eiseman, 81-502-C
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • June 10, 1983
    ...judicial officer before acting." United States v. Ventresca, 380 U.S. at 108, 85 S.Ct. at 746, 13 L.Ed.2d at 689; see State v. Read, R.I., 416 A.2d 684, 689-90 (1980); State v. Joseph, 114 R.I. 596, 598, 337 A.2d 523, 525 Similarly, we reject defendant's contention that the affidavit was "s......
  • State v. Hightower
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • August 1, 1995
    ...These inferences need not rise to the level of proof beyond a reasonable doubt but only to establish probable cause. Id.; State v. Read, 416 A.2d 684, 690 Looking at the totality of the circumstances, we find it abundantly evident that the trial justice was correct in declining to suppress ......
  • State v. Spillers, 48S02-0501-CR-5.
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • May 23, 2006
    ...serious crime will not likely undertake to divert the police down blind alleys.") (quotation marks and citations omitted); State v. Read, 416 A.2d 684, 689 (R.I. 1980) ("A judicial officer could infer that one in the position of an arrestee would not be likely to exacerbate his circumstance......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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