A lower court ruling involving a marijuana conviction for a Brighton-area man has been reversed by the Michigan Supreme Court.
The state’s highest court rejected a decision by the Michigan Court of Appeals that upheld a ruling from a local judge denying Dennis Keith Towne’s motion to suppress evidence in his case. Towne was sentenced in January 2014 to two days in jail and one year of probation for manufacturing marijuana, which police said was a “shared grow” among himself, his wife and their adult child, who were each medical marijuana caregivers.
Michigan State Police troopers were at Towne’s Genoa Township home in December 2011 looking for his son on a felony complaint. When Towne indicated his son was not there and denied troopers entry to search for him, one trooper left to obtain a search warrant, while two others waited at the house. As they waited, one of the troopers saw “an excessive amount of smoke coming from the chimney” and saw Towne “literally shoving handfuls of marijuana into a fire.” After troopers broke a window to the home and made entry they found an 18-gallon plastic tote about one-quarter full of “processed marijuana” and 75 live plants in the basement. Towne appealed the conviction, arguing that police had insufficient grounds to believe his son was inside the house.
In its latest ruling on this case, the state Supreme Court agreed and vacated Judge Michael Hatty’s order denying the motion to suppress. The case was remanded back to circuit court for final consideration based on its order. (JK)