Drug Evidence Suppressed

A Judge in Woburn District Court orders drugs seized during a motor vehicle stop suppressed. MD, a 22 year old woman was on probation in Salem District Court for possession of heroin, cocaine, and class E drugs. While on probation she got pulled over by the Reading Police; a search of her pocket book yielded numerous packets of heroin and several implements for drug use. She was faced with two cases: (1) the new drug possession case brought by the Reading Police in Woburn District Court and (2) a probation revocation proceeding brought by her probation officer in Salem District Court. MD retained Attorney Robert Lewin to handle both cases. The facts leading to the stop of MD’s car were as follows. A Reading Police Officer was on patrol in an area of Reading where there had been reports of suspicious activity at a house on a particular street. The Officer testified that he had received reports of numerous cars coming and going at a house on a named street. One night at about 10:00 PM the officer observed a black sedan exiting the street. He followed the sedan. The driver (MD) drove slowly and appeared to the officer to be driving “too carefully” so as to avoid being stopped. The officer ran the license plate and was able to determine that the owner of the car was a young woman with an open drug case in Salem District Court. He testified that he observed the woman who was driving stuffing what appeared to be a plastic bag into her purse on the front seat of the car. Based on those facts he pulled her over and searched her purse and discovered heroin. Before an officer can lawfully stop of motor vehicle the officer must have “a reasonable suspicion based upon articulable facts that (the operator) has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime”. “A mere hunch is NOT enough” to justify a stop of a motor vehicle. Attorney Lewin filed a Motion to Suppress the evidence discovered by the officer following the stop of the motor vehicle. The Judge in Woburn District Court conducted a full evidentiary hearing at which the Officer and MD testified. After the hearing the Judge wrote a decision in which he ruled that the officer had a hunch, but not a reasonable suspicion. On February 8, 2012 the Judge allowed Attorney Lewin’s Motion to Suppress the drugs. The case is next scheduled for February 29, 2012 at which time the District Attorney’s Office must decide whether to appeal the Judge’s decision or allow the case to be dismissed. In the meantime MD and Attorney Lewin went over to Salem District Court to address the probation revocation proceeding. Attorney Lewin got MD into a drug treatment program (and she is doing well) and the notice of probation surrender in Salem District Court was withdrawn.