LEOs can arrest those who greet the at the door puffing marijuana, according to New Jersey Supreme Court
Police officers who are greeted at the door by someone puffing marijuana can force their way in to make an arrest, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.Four Newark cops, working on a tip from a confidential informant in 2008, were planning to go undercover to nab a drug dealer at the Riverview Court public housing projects. But they quickly blew their cover once the dealer, Rashad Walker, answered the door with a burning marijuana joint, according to the court record."Defendant appeared at the door smoking a marijuana cigarette," the court said. "Thus, a disorderly persons offense was being committed in the presence of police officers in the hallway of a public housing building, where the officers have a right to be."The cops pushed their way in, arrested Walker and seized packs of marijuana, cocaine and "27 envelopes of heroin stamped ‘Horsepower’" from the living room, according to the court record.
Police can arrest people who answer door smoking marijuana, court rules | NJ.com
Our holding is limited to the precise facts before us," Judge Ariel Rodriguez, who is temporarily assigned to the court, wrote in the decision. "We do not suggest that, had no one come to the door, the mere smell of marijuana would have justified a forced entry into defendant’s home."The tip from the confidential informant wasn’t enough to get around the warrant requirement, the justices said. But since Walker tried to flee after being caught red-handed, the police had met the requirements to enter without a warrant, Rodriguez wrote.The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey said the ruling was worrisome, but mainly because it considers smoking marijuana to be a criminal offense, not because of the details of the case.