Dismissal of search warrant in drug case appealed

November 19, 1992|By Darren Allen | Darren Allen,Staff Writer

State prosecutors have asked the Maryland Court of Special Appeals to overturn a Carroll County judge's decision that threw out a search warrant and severely damaged a drug-dealing case against a Pleasant Valley Road couple.

Circuit Judge Francis M. Arnold, who had signed the warrant, threw it out during a hearing on pre-trial motions Oct. 28. The warrant authorized a search of the home of Robert and Patricia Wantz June 3.

A raid by the county drug task on the home, in the 1300 block of Pleasant Valley Road, turned up six full-grown marijuana plants; several grocery bags filled with small plastic bags of dried marijuana; indoor growth lights; sophisticated indoor irrigation planters; and logs charting growth of the plants, authorities said.

By throwing out the warrant, Judge Arnold also threw out the evidence that appears to be crucial to the prosecution's case.

Assistant State's Attorney Barton F. Walker III, who heads the Carroll County Narcotics Task Force, said yesterday that he filed the appeal earlier this month.

In court yesterday -- as the Wantzes' trial was to begin -- Mr. Walker asked Judge Arnold to postpone the proceeding pending the appeal.

"There are some issues that need to be resolved" by the appellate court, Mr. Walker said.

Assistant Public Defender Samuel Truette argued that the prosecution's appeal was "frivolous" and asked Judge Arnold to remember that it was he who had ruled against the warrant.

"Well, it appears that I have been on both sides of this issue, now, haven't I?" the judge said, laughing. "So I wouldn't consider the appeal frivolous."

Judge Arnold agreed to delay the trial. No new trial date was set.

The Court of Special Appeals' decision is expected by late January, court officials said.

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