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People v. Wood

Court of Appeals of Michigan

September 19, 2017

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
CHARLES WILLIAM WOOD, Defendant-Appellee.

         Oakland Circuit Court LC No. 2015-255591-FH

          Before: Stephens, P.J., and K. F. Kelly and Murray, JJ.

          K. F. KELLY, J.

         The prosecutor appeals by right an order dismissing a charge of possession of a controlled substance (codeine), a violation of MCL 333.7403(2)(b)(ii). The dismissal was based on the circuit court's earlier opinion and order that granted defendant's motion to suppress evidence. Finding no errors warranting reversal, we affirm.

         I. BASIC FACTS

         On March 14, 2015, Michigan State Police Trooper Everett Morris observed defendant traveling 83 miles per hour in a 70 mile per hour zone. Morris decided to conduct a traffic stop. Defendant was the lone occupant of the car. Morris testified that he "noticed several pill bottles along with several like whippet canisters. They would be nitrous oxide . . .[o]n the rear floorboard." Morris observed about a dozen of the containers. He explained: "They caught my attention because I've dealt with them before where people use them and they huff 'em for a temporary high." Morris confronted defendant about the canisters:

A. We discussed the huffing of the whippets or nitrous oxide that were in the back of the seat. I asked him, you know, when the last time it was that he used it.
Q. And what did he say?
A. He stated four days ago.
Q. Okay. And what, if anything, did you say?
A. I informed him that that stuff will kill your brain.
Q. And did he respond to your statement?
A. I believe he said I know.

         Morris unsuccessfully sought defendant's consent to search the car. He nevertheless ordered defendant out of the car and searched it. In addition to the nitrous oxide whippets, Morris found a canister that is used to huff with. Morris also found an empty bottle of codeine syrup with the name removed, as well as pill bottles with the names removed. Morris found six pills located inside a jacket belonging to defendant, which were determined to be codeine. Morris was not concerned that defendant was actually intoxicated at the time and he did not confiscate the whippets, canisters or the empty pill bottles.

         The circuit court granted defendant's motion to suppress the evidence but did not specifically grant or deny defendant's motion to dismiss for lack of untainted evidence. The parties subsequently appeared before the court on January 21, 2016:

MR. MEIZLISH [prosecutor]: Your Honor, as I imagine you recall, you entered an order suppressing the evidence in this matter. . . . Both sides agreed that if - you should - that you could set the matter for a trial right now.
THE COURT: Okay. So, everybody waives their right to a trial?
MS. MOISE [defense counsel]: Yes.
MR. MEIZLISH: We're just setting it for trial right now.
THE COURT: We'll set it right now.
MR. MEIZLISH: All right. Your Honor, we are unable to proceed ...

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