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

Drug Dealer Loses 'Softball-Sized' Appeal

Over-confidence was one of Todd Rasberry's problems; another was drug-dealing.

When police patted him down during a search for drugs, Rasberry said the softball-sized object they felt in his groin area was "part of his anatomy."

It turned out to be a big ball of drugs in United States of America v. Rasberry.

Bad "Champagne"

Drug enforcement agents had been on the trail of a major drug dealer known only as "Champagne." They finally got a lead during a drug bust of an accomplice.

According to the source, the dealer's name was Todd Rasberry and he was holed up with some drugs in a motel. Officers went to the location armed because Rasberry had a history of drug and weapons offenses.

They knocked on the door, and Rasberry answered dressed in his underwear. During a pat-down search, police discovered 51 grams of heroin wrapped up in plastic inside his shorts.

He appealed on the grounds the search was unconstitutional. The U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed.

"An Obvious Lie"

The appeals court said the police had good reason to search Rasberry, although the trial court's reasoning was marginally "questionable."

Because the nature of the softball-sized object was not immediately apparent, the judges reasoned, theoretically the officers didn't have reasonable belief that it was criminal.

But, the panel said, the officers had a good tip that Rasberry had drugs. Plus, his statement that the big ball was his anatomy was "an obvious lie."

It was Rasberry's second bust on drug charges in two years. He's now serving more than 11 years in prison.

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