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The defendant pleaded guilty to trafficking in illegal drugs, maintaining a vehicle were controlled dangerous substances are kept, and possession of controlled dangerous substances without attack stamp. The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals from the convictions, but sent the case back to the trial court to consider all sentencing options. The defendant pled guilty to the charges but has original attorney did not properly perfect his appeal or file an application to withdraw his guilty plea. His present attorney filed an application for post-conviction relief. The district court recommended that this court allow the appeal out of time.
This is a case of first impression. The first one deals with the question of civil forfeiture, its impact on double jeopardy claim and whether is been waived. The other issue a result of a potential conflict between provisions in the delayed sensing program for youth adults in the trafficking in illegal drugs act. Here’s a summary the facts.
The defendant was driving to Texas when a Highway Patrol trooper stopped them. As the trooper approached the car, he noticed a strong smell of marijuana. He called for a drug dog at the scene. There, authorities discovered almost 200 pounds of marijuana in the vehicle. The value was about $1,200 per pound. Someone paid the defendant $2000 to drive the van to Texas.
On appeal, the defendant argued that his criminal convictions are part of double jeopardy provisions of the federal Constitution. He argued that the state previously punished him by pursuing complaining a syllable forfeiture case on his car and monies he had been a prior separate proceeding. The state filed a notice of seizure and forfeiture seeking both the vehicle he was driving and money and what he was arrested. The judge entered an order of forfeiture at a later date. Then, the defendant pled guilty to charges. He claims his criminal conviction should be reversed because of the amount of the second punishment for his crimes.
The United States Supreme Court case is held that a civil and room forfeiture does not constitute punishment for purposes of Job double jeopardy. The court observed that civil forfeiture is a civil penalty, not a criminal one. A civil section is punitive if it cannot fairly be said solely to be served a remedial purpose. The court must first determine whether the state intended for the forfeiture proceedings to be civil or criminal. Once that determination is made, the court must then determine whether proceedings, in general, are subpoenaed in fact is to persuade them that the forfeiture proceeding may not legitimately be viewed as civil in nature despite the legislature’s intent.
Tulsa criminal defense attorney Stephen Cale handles civil asset forfeiture cases. Civil forfeiture cases are often connected to criminal charges. The government tries to take your property in a civil proceeding. The burden of proof is different in this kind of case. The good thing is that if you prevail in this case, the court can award attorneys fees. This makes the state pay money because they lost.
The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals looked to a Civil Appeals case. In that case, the state appealed from an adverse order of the District Court denied relief. In reversing the district court’s order, the appellate court noted federal cases cited by the defendant that dealt with federal forfeiture statutes the concluded they were penal in nature. However, Oklahoma’s provisions are primarily remedial in nature. The purpose is to obey past offending uses a property and to prevent future offending uses of the property. Other than the forfeiture of controlled substances themselves, all property mention the provision of the statute is subject to forfeiture by virtue of the fitting use. This is generally in relation to illegal manufacturing or distributing controls substances. The court has held that the conveyance of a vehicle is forfeitable only witness in instrumentality for transportation, concealment, and cultivation of drugs.
The second issue dealt with sentencing options. The defendant pled guilty in May. His attorney filed a motion in June seeking sentencing under the delayed sensing program from young adults. The judge granted this motion in June and sent the defendant to the red program. Delayed sentencing until October. The defendant did well in the red program. However, at sentencing, the district court held that he cannot suspend the defendant sentencing because of the provision of the law that does not allow a suspended sentence. The defendant claimed that the court incorrectly interpreted the two provisions.
Under the delayed sentencing program for young adults, a district court is required to delay sentencing for up to hundred 20 days in commit the youthful offender to the department of corrections. During that time, the department must prepare a special ice offender accountability plan outline details of the crime and punishment options. The court has the option to deferred judgment and sentence, suspend the sentence or since the offender to the term prescribed by law. The defendant focuses on the definition of youthful offender. The statute affected the time the defendant committed his crimes defined in a certain way. For the plainly which of the statute, that would be eligible for a suspended sentence, which is what he wanted.
However, a section of the trafficking in illegal drugs act under which the defendant was charged not provide for a suspended or deferred sentence. The rule of statutory construction is that statutes are to be construed to determine the intent of the legislature. A statutory conflict, they will be reconciled to give them consistent intelligent effect to each one of those. The more specific of the tube will govern.