NEW YORK (AP / WCBS 880) — Tennessee Titans backup quarterback Chris Simms can’t keep the admissions police say he made about smoking marijuana from being used in his drugged-driving case, a judge ruled Tuesday.
WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reports
Simms’ statements were obtained legally, and police were justified in stopping and arresting him early on July 1, Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Charles Solomon ruled.
Simms, a son of former New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms, and his lawyers were excused from a court appearance Tuesday. The lawyers didn’t immediately return phone calls afterward.
Police said Chris Simms was stopped for making an erratic turn near a police sobriety checkpoint in a nightlife-oriented part of Manhattan around 1 a.m., with his pregnant wife and two other people with him.
An officer approaching Simms’ Mercedes-Benz was confronted with a marijuana smell so strong the officer got a headache and his tongue went numb, and he found Simms behind the wheel in a “zombie”-like state, the officer testified at an October hearing.
Simms told the officer he’d been “smoking marijuana in the car earlier,” taking four puffs, but there wasn’t any left, according to a court document. He remained “very out of it” after his arrest, falling asleep on a police station holding-cell floor and having to be roused by a fellow detainee to take an alcohol-level test, according to the officer’s testimony.
Simms, however, told The Tennessean newspaper in August he “definitely didn’t say” he had been smoking marijuana. He wasn’t tested for drugs, and alcohol tests came back negative.
His lawyers challenged the legality of the checkpoint and the basis for his arrest, among other arguments. The judge ruled against all of them and noted the officer’s description of Simms’ woozy condition.
“There is no question that (the officer) had probably cause to arrest defendant, given these observations,” Solomon wrote.
Simms, 30, has pleaded not guilty to driving while impaired. The top charge against him is a misdemeanor that carries the potential for a year in jail if he’s convicted.
He’s due back in court Jan. 21. He got a last-minute pass on Tuesday’s court date because his lead lawyer had trouble traveling from Denver, Colo., in the wake of a weekend snowstorm there.
Simms has a 7-9 record in his 16 NFL career starts. A third-round draft pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2003, he ruptured his spleen in a 2006 game against the Carolina Panthers and had to undergo emergency surgery.
After Tampa Bay released him, he went to Tennessee in 2008, played for the Denver Broncos in 2009 as an unrestricted free agent and then returned to the Titans. The Titans released him in September but then re-signed him in November. He didn’t play in any games this season.
Simms’ father played 14 seasons with the Giants, leading them to two Super Bowls. He is now a CBS Sports announcer and analyst.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.