Order granting defendant’s Motion suppressing certain evidence in a DUI trial

Dec 19, 2023

CREDIT – FL LAW WEEKLY SUPPLAMENT 3108MERL

Criminal law — Driving under influence — Evidence — Positive test for cannabis metabolite — Reference to cannabis metabolite is excluded — State may move for reconsideration if it can establish, through expert testimony, that metabolite could have affected defendant at relevant time — Cannabis found in vehicle is excluded absent evidence that defendant could have recently used it or been under its effect

STATE OF FLORIDA, Plaintiff, v. JORDAN EUGENE MERLET, Defendant. Circuit Court, 12th Judicial Circuit in and for Sarasota County. Case No. 2023 CT 004086 NC. September 14, 2023. Erika Nikla Quartermaine, Judge. Counsel: Trinidad Peraza, Assistant State Attorney, for Plaintiff. Claudia Rojas Sousa, for Defendant.

ORDER ON MOTIONS IN LIMINE

This matter came before the Court on the Motion in Limine to exclude reference to the Defendant’s positive test for a cannabis metabolite and the Defendant’s Motion in Limine to exclude reference to cannabis found in the vehicle. The Court has considered these motions and argument from counsel and has been otherwise advised in the premises.

It is hereby ORDERED and ADJUDGED that:

1. The Motion in Limine to exclude reference to the metabolite is GRANTED pursuant to section 90.402 of the Florida Statutes. This ruling is without prejudice for the State to move the Court for reconsideration if the State can establish, through expert testimony, that the metabolite could have affected the Defendant at the relevant time. Estrich v. State, 995 So. 2d 316 (Fla. 4th DCA 2008) [33 Fla. L. Weekly D2726b].

2. The Motion in Limine to exclude reference to the cannabis located in the vehicle is GRANTED. Absent evidence that the Defendant could have recently used cannabis or been under its effect (which appears to be disproved by the presence of a metabolite only), the State cannot meet the four prong test as set forth in Varney v. State, 18 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 780a (Fla. 6th Cir. 2010).

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