U.S. First Circuit - The FindLaw 1st Circuit Court of Appeals News and Information Blog

Denial of Motion to Suppress Evidence of Drugs from Sobriety Checkpoint

In US v. William, No. 08-2303, the First Circuit faced a challenge to a conviction for possessing marijuana and crack cocaine, arising from a brief traffic stop at a sobriety checkpoint.  The court affirmed the conviction and rejected defendant's claim that the stop was unlawful because the checkpoint's primary purpose was something other than detecting impaired drivers. 

However, defendant's sentence is vacated and remanded for resentencing as the sentencing provision applied in this case - a five-year minimum and a twenty-year maximum - required not only more than three grams of crack cocaine, but also a prior conviction under 21 U.S.C. section 844(a).  Here, defendant's prior conviction was for a state drug offense and does not meet the requirements of section 844(a) for a sentence above two years. 

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