LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The Nebraska Supreme Court has reversed a lower court's order for a new trial for a Grand Island man convicted of drug charges.
The state's Court of Appeals reversed Roger Dalland's meth conviction and granted him a new trial in June. The court ruled that a police officer who said he smelled marijuana on Dalland inside a police station violated Dalland's constitutional rights when he searched Dalland's car outside.
But the Supreme Court said the appellate court didn't take into account the officer's statement that Dalland told him about needles in his car before he started searching.
The ruling came down Friday, the Lincoln Journal Star reported (http://bit.ly/1ayisZi ).
The case stems from Dalland's 2011 conviction on a count of possession of methamphetamine. Dalland had been called to the station in Aurora for questioning in another case. Once at the station, an Aurora police officer said he smelled marijuana on Dalland, then the officer later followed Dalland to his car. The officer searched Dalland and his vehicle, finding three syringes containing trace amounts of meth.
Dalland was sentenced last summer to 270 days in jail. He served about 150 days.
Dalland appealed, raising the question of whether the odor of marijuana on a person inside a building gives police probable cause to search that person's vehicle once he enters it.
The appeals court found that it did not. The lower court also said the officer's testimony didn't match what he said in the affidavit for Dalland's arrest, but the state Supreme Court said the court should have given deference to the district court judge who heard the case.
The Supreme Court sent Dalland's case back to the Court of Appeals, directing it to affirm his conviction and sentence.
Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com