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Richard was tried by a jury convicted the position of the control drug after a former conviction of two or more felonies. The jury sentenced him to 99 years in prison. However, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals reversed. The facts follow.
In July, the informant prettified an undercover officer that he had been contacted by a woman named Susan who was acting as a go-between for the defendant’s wife for the sale of methamphetamine. Please give informant $400 in marked money and, accompanied by an undercover officer, the informant bought for and a half grams of methamphetamine the defendant’s wife at her home. The defendant was not present during the sale.
The police placed the home under surveillance while awaiting a search warrant. The warrant was executed shortly before midnight by kicking in the front door of the defendant’s home. Officers arrested the go-between and the defendant’s wife. Place also sees less than a quarter of a gram of methamphetamine found in a plastic envelope on the coffee table mixed in with some of the go-between’s property. Additionally police found the $400 in marked money, three sets of scales, a checkbook peering the names of the defendant and his wife, and the utility bill bearing the defendant’s name and address of the residence. The defendant was not present while the house was under surveillance or during the execution of the search warrant, said Tulsa criminal defense attorney Stephen Cale.
As officers completed their search, the defendant drove up and about 1:30 AM. The police asked him to step away from his van and noticed the smell of alcohol. They arrested him for being under the influence of intoxicating liquor. During the search incident to arrest, and no drugs were found on defendant’s person. Four days later the state filed an information charging the defendant with possession of a controlled dangerous substance.
At the close of the prosecution’s case, the defendant demurrer to the evidence and moved for a directed verdict. Both of those were denied. The defendant presented an alibi witness in order to account for the period from his release from the county jail on a driving under the influence incarceration on July 20 until his arrest on July 25. However, that witness was discredited by the prosecution. Get the best Tulsa criminal defense attorney if your serious about fighting the prosecution.
The defendant asserted that the trial court erred by overruling his demurrer to the evidence in his motion for directed verdict because the state failed to introduce sufficient evidence to prove the essential element of possession. The state argued that the defendant waived his demurrer by offering evidence in his own defense. Therefore, the appellate court will determine the sufficiency of the evidence by reviewing the record as a whole but viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the state.
The elements of the crime of unlawful possession of a controlled drug are: 1) knowing and intentional; 2) possession; 3) of a controlled dangerous substance. Possession may be actual or constructive. In this case, there was no evidence that the defendant was an actual possession of the methamphetamine seized by the police.
Constructive possession of a controlled dangerous substance is a showing that the accused had knowledge of its presence and the power or intent to control its disposition or use. When controlled dangerous substances are found in a place where the defendant has exclusive access, then knowledge, dominion and control fairly may be inferred from the circumstances alone.
When a controlled dangerous substances not found on the accused that on premises to which several persons have access, possession cannot be inferred simply because the drugs were found on the premises. Instead the statements introduce additional facts from which he can fairly be inferred that the accused had dominion and control over the seized substance. Guilty knowledge and control cannot be presumed. The statements introduce some link or circumstances in addition to the presence of the control drug which indicates that cues knowledge and control.
Without this additional factor, the evidence is insufficient to support a conviction. In this case, the state failed to introduce additional facts linking the defendant to the methamphetamine. Thus they did not satisfy their burden of proof that the defendant had knowledge and control over the drug. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the state, the Oklahoma court of criminal’s appeals found that no rational trier of fact could have found the essential element of possession beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore, the appellate court had no alternative but to reverse the defendant’s conviction with instructions to dismiss, said Tulsa criminal defense attorney Stephen Cale.
In another case, Anthony was tried by a judge and convicted of unlawful possession of a controlled drug with intent to distribute. The judge sentenced him to five years in prison. On appeal, he raised three arguments. The first was that the trial court erred in failing to suppress evidence obtained as a result of an illegal seizure. An officer stopped the vehicle which the defendant was a passenger on the pretext that the driver had committed a traffic offense. Because the facts which DOS officer articulated not constitute a traffic violation, stop of the vehicle is illegal and violated the defendant state and federal constitutional right to be free from illegal search and seizure. Therefore, his conviction based upon the evidence seized in the statements made must be reversed and dismissed.
Next, he argued that the state failed to establish be unoriginal doubt that the defendant knowingly possess drug paraphernalia, when the drug paraphernalia charge is not in his possession, but discovered in a hotel room over which he had no control. And lastly, he argued that the judge been sentence must be corrected to properly reflect the sentencing that was pronounced.
The appellate court found that there were sufficient evidence of dominion and control needed for constructive possession so that any rational trier of fact could of found beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had dominion and control over the paraphernalia in the motel room.