Criminal: QUINTANA V. COMMONWEALTH (COA 7/26/2006)

QUINTANA V. COMMONWEALTH
CRIMINAL: SEARCH AND SEIZURE 
2005-CA-000341
TO BE PUBLISHED 
AFFIRMING (HUDDLESTON)
Date Rendered:  7/26/2006

Eric Quintana entered a conditional Alford plea of guilty to cultivation of marijuana over five plants and possession of drug paraphernalia.  At his hearing on his motion to suppress the evidence seized from his home,  Quintana asserted that the officers were impermissibly within the curtilage of his home when they noticed the odor of marijuana and contended that a neighbor intercepted the police and advised that no one was inside the house so that the officers should not have continued to the rear of the house.  The officers, however,  testified that they were already in the backyard of the house when the neighbor appeared. The court denied Quintana’s motion to suppress.

This situation is analogous to the “plain view” exception to the warrant requirement.  The police were legally entitled to enter the property to perform the “knock and talk.” During the course of this duty, they found evidence of illegal activity, i.e., the odor of marijuana.  Seizure was constitutionally permissible.

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