- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 26, 2007


The Supreme Court yesterday agreed to review the case of a man who successfully challenged a drug charge arising from his illegal arrest for driving on a suspended license.

Many state and federal courts say that failing to follow state law in making an arrest does not require that subsequently seized evidence be suppressed. But the Virginia Supreme Court ruled otherwise in the case of David Lee Moore, and state officials asked the justices to consider the issue.

Two Portsmouth police detectives stopped Mr. Moore on Feb. 20, 2003, for driving on a suspended license, but under Virginia law, they should have issued him a summons and released him rather than taking him into custody.

The Virginia Supreme Court said the officers could not lawfully conduct the search, which turned up about 16 grams of crack cocaine in Mr. Moore’s jacket pocket and $516 in cash from his pants pocket. Mr. Moore admitted to police that the cocaine was his, according to court records.

A trial judge ruled against the challenge to the drug charge, and Mr. Moore was convicted of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and sentenced to 3½ years in prison. The Virginia Supreme Court in November ordered the charge dismissed and Mr. Moore was freed.

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