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Meeks was convicted of unlawful distribution of a controlled dangerous substance and a count of maintaining a dwelling house resorted to by persons using controlled dangerous substances. The jury recommended that he be sentenced to imprisonment for 35 years on each count. The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals reversed in part.
The appellant argued that there was insufficient evidence to sustain the conviction of maintaining a dwelling house for the purpose of selling controlled dangerous substances. The appellate court found sufficient evidence to support conviction. However it found that it must reverse this count for new trial based on incorrect jury instruction given by the trial court. Under the statute at the time, and read that it shall be unlawful for any person to keep or maintain any dwelling house which is resorted to by persons using drugs in violation of this act for the purposes of using such substances, or which is used for the keeping or selling of the same in violation of this act.
The appellate court had previously adopted rules concerning this charge. In order to convict under the statute, the state must prove a substantial purpose for his for the keeping, selling or using of drugs. Plus, there must be a showing that more than a single, isolated incident activity. Thirdly, each case must be judged on its own facts. In the case of issue, the prosecution present evidence of two sales, both on the same day to the same person. In each instance, the defendant did not immediately sell the drug to the informant. Instead he told him to come back in a short period of time. Defendant argues that the house and maintain for drug sales, he would to sell the drugs on hand impose instances. The appellate court agreed.
Statute prohibits keeping or maintaining a dwelling resorted to a persons using drugs. The appellate court said that clearly the defendant could have kept or maintain the house by using it as a kind of brokerage house or exchange site or someone can bring drugs for resell, thus allowing him to keep a small percentage of the profit. Defendant amended using a pager that was someone else’s. Although he said this was done because he cannot always pay his bills, he did not have a telephone. The defendant was recorded by an informant. On the first tape informant made reference to the pager, an indication might have been routinely used to facilitate drug sales. It was no indication of him forming new that the defendant did not have a telephone. Defendant also admitted receiving some drugs the same day from the informant, he also admitted selling them in the past. However he did amid selling some gold to the informant the same day. Evidence also showed that he had sporadic employment.
The house was the defendant’s residence. However, there is no indication that the defendant kept or maintain the dwelling primarily to sell drugs. Case law does not require that this must be the primary purpose for maintaining the dwelling, only a substantial purpose, said Tulsa criminal defense attorney Stephen Cale.
In the light most favorable to the state, the dwelling was kept or maintain not only to facilitate the sale of drugs to others, but also for use by its inhabitants. What’s not as clear is defendant’s assertion that the trial court gave an incorrect construction. The defendant claims that the instruction given by the court allow the jury to convict him based solely on personal use of his house. When comparing the jury instruction to the statute, it’s clear that the jury could convicted the defendant of maintaining a dwelling simply because he considered drugs in his own house. This requires reversal and remand for new trial.
No one can be convicted of this offense less the status prove the unoriginal doubt each element of the crime, these elements are: first, keeping or maintaining; second, any store, shop, dwelling house, building, or any place whatsoever; third, which is used for the keeping or selling of the same in violation of the controlled dangerous substances act. Additionally, the phrase keeping or maintaining requires that the defendant have control, ownership, or management of the residence as distinguished from other persons resorting to it to buy are used drugs in violation of the law. Moreover, a conviction under this law requires that the activity giving rise to the charge must be more than a single, isolated activity. Instead, the term implies an element of some degree of habitual this. Further, a conviction under this section requires that a substantial purpose, and not destroy the soul purpose, of the place identified by statute is for keeping or selling drugs. Lastly, the mere possession of limited qualities of the drug by the person keeping or maintain the residence for that person’s personal use within the residence or structure is insufficient to support a conviction under this section, said Tulsa criminal defense attorney Stephen Cale.
A person who keeps any bawdyhouse, house of ill fame, or prostitution for persons to visit for unlawful sexual intercourse or any other indecent purpose is guilty of a misdemeanor. In this old case, the evidence show that the defendant occupy the house and the Altus with his wife and daughter. It was reputed to be of lewd and lascivious character the daughter of the defendant was generally known as a prostitute. Others that stay there also are known to be prostitutes. Ten witnesses for the state testified that the house was calmly reputed has been a house of prostitution. Several these witnesses testified as to the lewd conduct on the part of inmates and that several men frequently visited the place.
The defendant testified on his own behalf. He said that he worked for the railroad and had lived at the house for several months. He said that one woman stayed there for about ten days after she had been in jail. However he did not know that she was a prostitute. Another girl stayed there for three or four weeks, and another for about ten days he said that he also did not know that they were prostitutes.