ORDER DENYING MOTION TO SUPPRESS
Defendant presented a Motion to Suppress which was heard
before the Court on October 24, 2016. The State presented
three witnesses who were present and participated in a search
of the Defendant's home on July 17, 2015. The
Defendant's motion contends that the search of the
Defendant's premises, and the subsequent seizure of
evidence in the nature of marijuana, was undertaken in
violation of the State and Federal Constitutional provisions
proscribing such activity. The Defendant further argues that
he was subjected to custodial interrogations without proper
Miranda warnings having been provided by the State.
Defendant resides on Tucker Brook Road in Lincolnville Maine.
In response to certain nonspecific information regarding a
marijuana growing operation, Maine State Police Detective,
Scott Quintero, drove along the Tucker Brook Road on July 17,
2015 and observed visible buckets containing marijuana plants
which were not fully enclosed by fencing. As a result of
these observations, Detective Quintero drove onto the
property of the landowner and made contact with the
Defendant, his wife, and teenage son. Much of Detective
Quintero's interactions with the Defendant were captured
on a recording which was admitted into evidence at the
hearing as State's Exhibit 2.
was a detailed discussion regarding the Defendant's
status as a medical marijuana patient and caregiver. There
was also considerable discussion regarding the obligations
associated with compliance with the medical marijuana
requirements, especially with respect to the security
requirements relating to the fencing around the plants.
Detective Quintero's initial arrival, he was joined by
MDEA Agent Walter Corey. Agent Corey testified that he
observed a 6 to 8 foot wide section of missing fencing, and
another area where the fence was only 4 feet high which also
had two sections missing.
Quintero and Agent Corey began discussing with the Defendant
whether he would be willing to consent to a search of the
premises. Detective Quintero specifically informed the
Defendant that he was not required to consent to a search,
and that if he did not consent the officers would proceed to
obtain a search warrant. Detective Quintero went on to then
review a proposed consent to search form with the Defendant.
Detective Quintero encouraged the Defendant to read the
consent form and, again, informed the Defendant that if he
was not comfortable consenting he should not sign the form,
and they would proceed to get a search warrant.
Defendant then proceeded to fill out, with the officers
assistance, the consent to search form which was introduced
into evidence as State's Exhibit 1. The completed form,
which was signed by the Defendant, included the location of
the property at "77 Tucker Brook Road", but left
the line blank immediately after the reference to area to be
searched. The concluding paragraph of the form, nonetheless,
authorized MDEA "to conduct a complete search of the
point during the subsequent search of the premises did the
Defendant in any way attempt to limit or object to any area
being searched by the officers involved. To the contrary, the
recording suggests the Defendant accompanied the officers
throughout the areas within the Defendant's home which
were subsequently searched and from which marijuana was
to the consent to search having been given, and the initial
search of the Defendant's premises having been
undertaken, James Pease, a supervisor with the MDEA arrived
on scene and engaged in a further questioning of the
Defendant. All of the questioning of the Defendant occurred
at the Defendant's home. Although not all were engaged in
the questioning of the Defendant, there were four agents, in
all, on-site during the course of the search and seizure of
the premises. During the course of the discussions with the
Defendant he was informed, by more than one officer, that he
would not be arrested. The officers did not park their
vehicles in a manner which would have blocked the
Defendant's or the defendant's family members'
vehicles. The total duration of the questioning of the
Defendant is not entirely clear, but the longest file
contained in State's Exhibit 2 was approximately 32
time during the course of any of the officer's discussion
or questioning the Defendant was any Miranda warning
provided to the Defendant.
both State and Federal constitutional analysis the search of
one's premises must be reasonable. Reasonableness
"generally requires a warrant or probable cause, but
there are exceptions to that requirement, including when the
defendant consents to the search. Exceptions to the warrant
requirement, including those based on consent, are construed
narrowly." State v. Sargent, 2009 ME 125, \10.
Court in both Sargent and in earlier cases which
have looked to determine the scope of the ...