Supreme Court says smell test not enough in meth case

JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) - The state Supreme Court has ruled that an officer's sense of smell wasn't enough to convict a West Tennessee man of intent to manufacture methamphetamine.

The unanimous decision released today overturned the drug conviction of Gary Lee Marise, who was charged after a 2002 patrol stop in Carroll County.

Deputy Michael Darnell testified at trial that he thought Marise and another man were dumping trash when he saw them beside a car stopped along a rural road.

Darnell found marijuana and what he thought was meth outside the car and testified that he smelled an odor coming from the trunk that he was sure was anhydrous ammonia, a fertilizer than can be used to make the illegal stimulant.

Darnell said he knew the smell because he had worked on a farm, but the court said his observations were inadequate.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)