Keys allowed as evidence in drug trial

March 26, 1993

A set of keys that police found in the car of a man charged as a drug kingpin and used to open storage lockers containing more than 200 pounds of marijuana, will be allowed as evidence during his trial, a Circuit Court judge has ruled.

In his five-page decision yesterday, Judge H. Chester Goudy said there was nothing improper about a police officer's seizure of the keys during the Oct. 29 search of James Mitchell Emory's vehicle, which was parked at his Pasadena home.

Mr. Emory, 47, and two other men charged as kingpins -- Roger Lee Emory, 43, of Glen Burnie and Philip B. Dulay, 48, of Pasadena -- are slated to stand trial next week.

Attorneys for the three had asked that the keys be ruled inadmissible because officers had no reason to believe they were connected with the storage lockers when they seized them.

But Judge Goudy disagreed, noting police testimony in a hearing on the request last week that officers knew at the time of the searches that the locked storage boxes contained drugs. The storage boxes were kept inside locked storage bins.

"This Court finds that [the officers'] belief was reasonable in light of the fact that an hour earlier they encountered three Masterlocks, and three Masterlock keys were found together on a key chain," Judge Goudy wrote.

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