STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MARK DEMCOVITZ - Articles

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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Apr 23, 2012

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Joseph A. McClusky and Massey McClusky, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mark Demcovitz.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; Chris Scruggs, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): BIVINS

Mark Demcovitz (“the Defendant”) pled guilty to unlawful possession of marijuana with intent to sell and received an eight year sentence. The trial court entered a judgment reserving two certified questions of law. On appeal, the Defendant asks that this Court answer the following certified questions:

1. Whether the stop of the defendant for “following too close” violated the defendant’s state and federal constitutional rights when the statute is absent any objective criteria for the officer to base his determination on, thereby granting the officer unbridled discretion in determining when a violation occurs?

2. Whether the stop of a defendant for a minor “cite and release” traffic violation which provided for a fine only, the detention of the defendant exceeded the reasonable length and scope to effectuate the purposes of the stop, placement of the defendant in the secured area of the officer’s patrol car, the use of a drug dog “run” around the defendant’s vehicle, and the subsequent search of defendant’s vehicle violated the rights of the defendant under the federal and state constitutions and, therefore, all evidence resulting from the seizure and search should be suppressed?

After a thorough review of the record, we answer each question in the negative and hold that the Defendant’s constitutional rights were not violated. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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