No evidence, no case
Judge rules evidence not admissable vs. StoudamirePosted: Wednesday August 07, 2002 7:13 PM
Updated: Wednesday August 07, 2002 9:26 PM
OREGON CITY, Ore. (AP) -- Portland Trail Blazers guard Damon Stoudamire won a ruling Wednesday that could force the dismissal of a felony drug charge.
Clackamas County Circuit Judge John Lowe ruled that marijuana found at Stoudamire's suburban Lake Oswego house after police were called to investigate a burglar alarm could not be used as evidence. A prosecutor said he would appeal the ruling.
Police found a large bag of marijuana behind an attic door while searching the house for intruders after two neighbors reported Stoudamire's front door was ajar and the alarm was beeping inside an hour after Stoudamire left for a game Feb. 23.
Lowe said he could find "no precedent in this state for upholding such a search of a private residence."
On Tuesday, Lowe rejected the two strongest arguments prosecutors made for the search, ruling there was no legal justification without a warrant and that Stoudamire had not given consent.
Stoudamire's attorney, Stephen Houze, said he was "very pleased" that Lowe had rejected all three prosecution arguments to justify the search, calling the ruling "well reasoned" and backed by "well-settled law."
"The privacy rights of a person in his own home are paramount," Houze said. "This is the constitutional protection everybody has."
Chief Deputy District Attorney Greg Horner said he would appeal, calling the decision "a ruling that defies common sense."
If the appeal is rejected, the case is expected to be dismissed.
Stoudamire released a statement thanking his family and supporters. "Right now, I'm really looking forward to the upcoming season and returning to conversations about basketball," he said
Stoudamire had agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge in
May, but a simlar search in an unrelated marijuana case was ruled
unconstitutional by the Oregon Court of Appeals and his plea was
withdrawn. A grand jury indicted Stoudamire on a more serious
felony drug possession charge and he pleaded innocent.