Appeals court allows bag of drugs as evidence man's trial to proceed

November 26, 1997|By Amanda Burdette | Amanda Burdette,CAPITAL NEWS SERVICE

The state Court of Special Appeals reversed yesterday an Anne Arundel County circuit judge's decision to suppress evidence -- a plastic bag of drugs -- dropped by a passenger fleeing from a car Annapolis police had stopped for speeding.

The decision means that the trial of Leon Surgeon, charged with two counts of possession and possession with the intent to distribute drugs, will proceed. Court records did not indicate what drugs.

Surgeon had claimed at a hearing on the evidence that seizure of the drugs violated his Fourth Amendment rights. Circuit Judge Clayton Greene Jr. agreed. The prosecutors then appealed Greene's decision.

Surgeon was a passenger in a car that was pulled over Nov. 15, 1996, for going 5 mph over the 25 mph speed limit on Taylor Avenue.

According to the charges, Surgeon ran away with police in pursuit and threw the plastic bag over the fence.

Annapolis City Police Officer Glenn Shorter stopped Surgeon, then found the bag, according to court records.

Peter S. O'Neill, Surgeon's lawyer, argued that police stopped the car illegally and that "any evidence seized from the vehicle or persons therein is barred."

Prosecutors, meanwhile, argued that Surgeon's Fourth Amendment rights were not violated because he had abandoned the plastic bag and police were entitled to confiscate it.

The three-judge panel of the Court of Special Appeals agreed.

Pub Date: 11/26/97

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