gavel

A Baton Rouge man nabbed in 2012 with three vacuum-sealed bundles of salmon stuffed with 6 pounds of marijuana has been put on probation after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor drug charge.

Jacson Moore, 44, whose court case navigated all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court where the justices refused to hear it, pleaded guilty Thursday to second-offense possession of marijuana.

State District Judge Bonnie Jackson put Moore on probation for six months.

Moore's attorney, Rodney Messina, said his client has not gotten into trouble since his 2012 arrest and is working and doing well. He said Moore's first marijuana arrest was in the late 1990s.

"It was a best interest plea on his part," Messina said Monday.

Moore's case pitted police use of deceptive practices against the constitutional right to privacy and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. The case prompted Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Scott Crichton to question "whether the fish search passes the `smell test.'"

After tracking a suspicious package from the UPS processing center in Port Allen to Moore's Bob Pettit Boulevard apartment, a short time later Baton Rouge police stopped his car, told him they were investigating an armed robbery and asked to search the vehicle. He agreed.

"He voluntarily consented to a search of his car and signed a form affirming his consent, after which police found the controlled substances hidden in his car," East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III, no relation to Jacson Moore, said Monday.

"Despite the circumstances under which consent was given in this case, consent is an exception to the requirement that police obtain a warrant prior to searching a person's vehicle," he added.

Jackson threw out the evidence in 2015 on the basis that officers lied to Jacson Moore when they told him they were probing an armed robbery, and that he consented to the vehicle search based on that lie.

A divided state appeals court reversed Jackson, and the state Supreme Court voted 5-2 to deny Moore's appeal without holding a hearing.

"It troubles me here that the scope of the search seems to obviously exceed the represented purpose — conceivably the fruits of an armed robbery could be vacuum-sealed into fish, though it stretches the limits of my imagination," Crichton wrote in his 2016 dissent.

       

   

Follow Joe Gyan Jr. on Twitter, @JoeGyanJr.