NJ Appellate Court Overturns Felony Drug Charge for Woman Serving 10 Year Sentence Over 1.2 Ounces of Cocaine

i gather this is a gram, 1.2 ounces would be 34 of these, or a friday night with friends?DEATwo judges in New Jersey overturned the conviction of a woman found guilty of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. They ruled that prosecutors should not have relied on “expert” opinion from one of the cops involved, who claimed the amount of cocaine found in the woman’s home (1.2 ounces) was enough to assume the intent to sell and distribute, because prosecutors are prohibited from doing so. Via the Star Ledger:

The appeals judges said the investigator's testimony at [Deberel] Rogers' trial "was improper," adding that the state Supreme Court “considered and disapproved of the practice of eliciting opinion testimony from an officer involved in the investigation that led to a defendant’s prosecution for drug distribution.”

The judges acknowledged that Rogers’ attorney did not object to the line of questioning and testimony by the investigator. They also said the prosecutor may not have known about the limitations on expert testimony involving investigating officers in drug cases, but that the judge should have excluded the remarks.

There was “significant evidence” to support Rogers’ conviction of cocaine possession, but the distribution charge could have involved others in the apartment and the opinion testimony could have prejudiced the jury, the appellate decision said.

The judges upheld Rogers conviction for possession of cocaine and remanded the case back to New Brunswick for a new trial.

The artificial distinction between a quantity of narcotics that would qualify for personal use and a quantity that qualifies for “distribution” is at the crux of the Obama Administration’s snail’s pace effort at drug sentencing reform; the Department of Justice this summer instructed prosecutors to omit the quantity of narcotics involved in “low-level” drug cases to avoid the harsh mandatory minimums that kick in at arbitrary amounts.

More Reason on drug sentencing.

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  • Hugh Akston||

    It just now struck me that "possession with intent to distribute" is a completely bullshit charge. If distributing drugs is a crime, and you have evidence to convict a suspect for it, you're going to charge them with distribution. "Possession with intent" is for when you have no direct evidence of distribution, but you caught somebody with a buttload of drugs. You're punishing a suspect for a crime that you're pretty sure they were going to commit.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    So suddenly you want to put precogs out of a job.

  • Hugh Akston||

    They knew it was coming.

  • ||

    It's a way of fucking someone for stocking up on their drug(s) of choice. I mean, if you got the opportunity to buy 500 Vicodin at once for a good price, you'd do it, right? But if you ever got caught with it, they'd slap you with an intent to distribute charge so fast their heads would spin.

  • sarcasmic||

    I get my weed by the ounce when I can. That way I only have to buy it a couple times a year. Yeah. It lasts me that long. That's because I'm not a loser who watches Cartoon Network all night long.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Couple of things to correct you on there, sarc:

    First, Epi doesn't watch Cartoon Network all night long. He watches pr0n all night long. He DVRs Adult Swim and watches that during the day.

    Second, Epi isn't a loser who watches pr0n all night long. He's a fat loser who watches pr0n all night long.

  • ||

    Fat?!?

  • sarcasmic||

    Big boned.

  • ||

    Scruffy nerf herder.

  • anon||

    I get my weed by the ounce when I can. That way I only have to buy it a couple times a year.

    I don't smoke a bit. Better half and her father smoke an ounce a week though. Not the cheap shit either.

  • sarcasmic||

    Better half and her father smoke an ounce a week though.

    That's nuts. Do they have jobs? Seriously. Even when I worked jobs where I could get away with working high I never smoked that much. Quarter ounce a week a the most. As it is I can't even pretend to do my job high, so if I smoke it's only a puff or two after dinner. Damn. As I reread what I wrote I feel old enough to fart dust.

  • Tejicano||

    That explains the fragrance...

  • ||

    That's a damn lot. Though I will admit, in college my friend was a dealer and he'd buy a pound a week, sell enough to buy the next pound plus some more for walkin' around money, and then we'd smoke the rest (there were about 4-5 of us hanging around on a given day). We smoked a lot of weed.

  • ||

    I can get my weed in any amount that I want. I usually go with a quarter ounce per strain (right now I have three strains), sometimes a half ounce.

    But no Cartoon Network tonight. I have Homeland to catch up on.

  • sarcasmic||

    I only buy ounces for the quantity discount. I'm what you call "penny wise and pound foolish."

  • anon||

    . You're punishing a suspect for a crime that you're pretty sure they were going to commit.

    Which is why GUNS R BAD HUGH!

    God, get with the program already!

    /tard

  • Tejicano||

    This is one of those progtard points that seems like it should fall of its own weight where the opposite works in the media : a half dozen guns might or might not be easy to paint as "a lot" but dozens is "obviously" a sign of evil intent.

    In reality if a psycho was to go on a shooting rampage anything over 4 or maybe 5 guns will become impractical. A dozen simply cannot be carried without becoming unmanageble.

    But in the media it is always "the more, the scarier".

  • Ken Shultz||

    "You're punishing a suspect for a crime that you're pretty sure they were going to commit."

    You'd think that would be easy for the defense to introduce reasonable doubt.

    "Possession with intent" is for when you have no direct evidence of distribution, but you caught somebody with a buttload of drugs."

  • Ken Shultz||

    There was a question that was supposed to go under that last quote.

    It was about the shelf life of cocaine. What is the shelf life of cocaine?

    I've never heard of it going bad over time, but maybe that's because people don't generally save it for later.

    Still, there must be some people who buy it in bulk. It's cheaper that way, or the street dealers wouldn't be making any money piecing it out.

    Also, just because you're buying it in bulk doesn't mean you're trying to sell it. You might be throwing a party and giving it away.

    They do stuff like that in LA all the time.

  • sarcasmic||

    Still, there must be some people who buy it in bulk.

    Where do you find someone who sells it in bulk?

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    ebay?

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    ebay?

  • AlmightyJB||

    "Where do you find someone who sells it in bulk?"

    Vice squad

  • Ken Shultz||

    Well, bulk is a relative term.

    They're saying that more than the proverbial eight ball constitutes intent to distribute, but street dealers have a lot more than that with them.

    And the thing is, in Los Angeles? You've got entertainment people, after gig parties, pr0n shoots, sports stars and rappers throwing parties, you've got after hours clubs, party promoters, and the guy supplying the goods is the coolest guy in the room.

    And those people don't have to go looking for the stuff. They're not driving down to 18th street, that's for sure.

    The dealers are coming to them. The dealers know where the money is and where the people who want to buy it are. Go to any club, and there's a guy there that get your party going and can keep it going.

    http://tracking.si.com/2013/09.....ppers-nba/

    I knew a former gangster who originally got a job, back in the '80s, in a hospital down in the Rollin '20s--just so he could sell coke to the doctors. He said they bought in bulk to party with their friends and they paid more, too. Beets the street corner for sure.

    Made himself enough money to go semi-legit and become something of a slum lord.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "The dealers know where the money is and where the people who want to buy it are. Go to any club, and there's a guy there that get your party going and can keep it going."

    So, what I'm trying to say is that the people who are likely to want it in bulk don't usually have to go looking for it.

    It's looking for them.

    That guy I knew never knew any sports stars. But if you've got money and want to party in bulk, don't worry. Somebody will find you.

    Same thing happens with bud, by the way. I knew a guy in college who got sick of paying premium prices for small amounts and decided he could save a lot of money and get the whole fraternity high if he just went out and bought a pound. The police pulled him over half a block from where he bought it--it was almost certainly a set up.

    He bought a pound, but he had no intention of selling any of it. He just had tons of disposable income and loved being the guy that could get the whole fraternity high.

  • Cabeza de Vaca||

    That is still considered intent to distribute by the police. The state doesn't care if you're selling or giving it away. You recieve the same punishment.

  • AlmightyJB||

    When I was younger we would have parties where a half dozen or so of us would go through an eight ball or more in a night easy. Probably a quarter a night on occasion. Even as an old man I could easily see buying an eight ball or even a quarter for personal use if someone came across something of quality.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Although to be honest I try and stay away from it anymore. Takes too long to recover from those late nighters:)

  • Cabeza de Vaca||

    Columbia

  • AlmightyJB||

    All drugs degrade over time. They'll last longer in the freezer. The fresher the better though.

  • ||

    That's one of the problems with a Mars mission: no way to keep the drugs potent for so long.

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    leave them frozen outside.

  • ||

    Are you suggesting NASA install a secret compartment in the vehicle for transporting drugs!? I guess so long as they don't build it in Ohio...

  • AlmightyJB||

    "I guess so long as they don't build it in Ohio."

    I don't think there is much chance of anything getting built in Ohio anymore. Thanks UAW.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "That's one of the problems with a Mars mission: no way to keep the drugs potent for so long."

    I think a lot of people would still go, though, just for the shot at some zero-g sex.

  • Ken Shultz||

    You could write a book.

    Nobody knows how to do zero-g, but everybody wants to. ...especially in Japan.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FqnRSoX0po

    It would be like a Kama Sutra for the space age!

  • Cabeza de Vaca||

    I'm heard smack stays good for very long periods of time. When the Taliban was in complete control of Afghanistan they started cracking down on manufacturing of it. There reason they were doing so was the UN was giving them money to do so. They also huge stockpiles of it they could sell for more money because it was now harder to get.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Yep, anything with "intent" in it and no action to back it up is pure BS. One of my other favorites is "intent to go armed," which in these parts means your firearm was loaded before you needed it for self defense. Or that your knife blade was longer than 4" at any time, or that you had a "club."

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    So is an ounce a lot of coke?

  • sarcasmic||

    To put it in context, an eight-ball, an amount you've no doubt heard about in entertainment, is an eighth of an ounce.

  • anon||

    Yes. An ounce is enough to keep you and your friends awake for a week straight.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    But I'm narcoleptic.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yeah an ounce is quite a bit. Not like a massive amount. If you're buying by the ounce you're probably selling. Or you have a lot of stripper girl friends:)

  • ||

    Or you have a lot of stripper girl friends:)

    Are you telling me easy women like cocaine?!?!

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    I hear that some are not easy at all without it.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    From the answers ahead of mine, I conclude that it is not a lot, unless it is stored improperly and spoils before usage. It is quite hydrophilic. Remember, if your coke spoils before you use it, you left too much of it out.

  • RishJoMo||

    Dude thats liek the coolest thing ever man.

    www.BeinAnon.tk

  • Sevo||

    OT.
    Watching (out of the corner of my eye) the Pizza Bowl. The UAW ads are truly embarrassing:
    'Buy this car so I can keep my job!' Nothing about whether the car in question is worth a plug nickle. Nope, it's just out-and-out begging.

  • sarcasmic||

    BUY AMERKUN! KEEP JERBS AT HOME! DON'T BUY FROM FERNERS!

  • anon||

    BUY AMERKUN! KEEP JERBS AT HOME!

    That statement makes me want to punch the person saying it in the face.

    There's probably not a single better way to demonstrate that one knows absolutely jack shit about economics in any form.

  • Sevo||

    "There's probably not a single better way to demonstrate that one knows absolutely jack shit about economics in any form."

    Nor jack about selling. You NEVER sell on your need, you sell on customer advantage.

  • sarcasmic||

    I felt like a new person once I shed my ignorance of economics. Seriously. It's not their fault. Well, unless their ignorance is deliberate.

  • Tejicano||

    In grad school (Masters in International Management) a core course was "International Political Economy". It was a very even-handed, rather practical, survey of the subject. At one point we spent a few days digging into the issues about all the factors going into a global car factory and what really benefited the local economy. How much of the revenue went to parts, design, labor, infrastructure, HQ, etc. - and which of these were local or imported/offshore. It was like a bowl of spaghetti with no clear answers unless each factor was understood in detail.

    "American jobs" means next to zero.

    Heck, I was a design engineer in America until that field shrunk down so small and I ended up moving to Japan.

  • anon||

    The UAW has fucking ads on TV now?!

    So glad I quit paying for that bullshit.

  • Jordan||

    They've been airing them for years under the GM and Chrysler brand names.

  • CE||

    OT: California to split into six states?

    http://www.theverge.com/2013/1.....ey-a-state

  • Sevo||

    Won't happen, but the dems would scream; there's prolly 2 more dem senators, but 8 new GOP senators.

  • Tejicano||

    As I said when this was posted yesterday - once they do this we should be able to give a couple of the to North Korea. Just give the derp a few tweaks in the translation and I bet they wouldn't know the difference.

  • seguin||

    I think I need to wash down my brain with brake cleaner after reading the comments...

    "HOW DARE THEY TRY TO RUN!? THEY SHALL LEARN TO ACCEPT US AS THEIR MASTERS OR ELSE!"

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Social liberal bares her chest, climbs on the altar and screams during Christmas Mass in the Catholic cathedral in Cologne. Her organization, FEMEN, justifies the disruption as a blow for legal abortion. They issue an eloquent statement which, in fairness, is more coherent than an Amanda Marcotte column: "Everything smells of rot should be buried immediately! Long live woman! Long live the science!"

    http://femen.org/en/gallery/id/284#post-content

    Video:

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4vjtngvGzRI

  • Count Negroni||

    I was hoping for more objectifying pictures.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Next time I'll find some photos from the Million Babushka Topless March Against Austerity.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Huh? A Catholic Mass worth attending.

  • ||

    I just came to look at boobs.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    eggzactly

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    Uh oh.

    Jose Canseco is in trouble with his HOA for the goats

  • Dweebston||

    Can I be arrested for possession with intent to party?

    Don't buzzkill me, bro.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "The artificial distinction between a quantity of narcotics that would qualify for personal use and a quantity that qualifies for “distribution” is at the crux of the Obama Administration’s snail’s pace effort at drug sentencing reform"

    Arbitrarily making rules for other people to live by is so hard! That's why we should elect academics to make our choices for us.

    Incidentally--and this is just from anecdotal evidence--but I've heard of people being charged with intent to distribute specifically because they had a registered gun. In other words, when the cops go to get a warrant, apparently, one of the things they can present to the judge as probable cause is that the suspect has a registered gun.

    If they subsequently search your house and find narcotics and the gun you registered, I've heard that is typically used as evidence to show the jury that you intended to distribute.

    If I were sitting on a jury, I would think that was bogus--exercising your Second Amendment right to bear arms shouldn't be any more of an indication that you intended to distribute than exercising your right to free speech.

    But I doubt very many jurors think that, and there must be a lot of innocent people charged as dealers that way--if any time they find a gun, the suspect gets charged with intent to distribute. To me, that seems almost as arbitrary as saying over an arbitrary number of grams means it wasn't just for personal use.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    OK, I've done Christmas and sex, now for Christmas and booze.

    Boston police break up a Christmas party for local tech companies, apparently because they advertised an open bar ($50 all-you-can-drink cover charge).

    Source: Institute for Justice

    http://bit.ly/1cPI7qW

  • ||

    Old news. This story was posted awhile ago.

  • 2ndClassProle||

  • Ken Shultz||

    That's been out for a while, and it's about sexual assaults in prison.

    Male prison inmates willingly having sex with female corrections officers generally isn't what I think of when I think of "rape", but that is the most common form of "rape" in prison, apparently.

    I certainly wouldn't cite that as some kind of statistic to stick it to the feminists or something. It's like statutory rape in that a prisoner, supposedly, isn't legally allowed to consent--but it ain't rape "rape".

  • 2ndClassProle||

    Good to know Ken, Thanks. I had never seen before, so it was knew to me. You Damn libertarians with your logic and reason.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Reason does a really good job of cover this stuff:

    "A full 79 percent of all reported misconduct between inmates and staff involved male prisoners with female employees, not the other way around."

    http://reason.com/blog/2012/05.....onduct-fro

  • Cdr Lytton||

    79 percent of all reported misconduct between inmates and staff

    I wonder what the breakdown is of who did the reporting.

  • ||

    South Carolina Governor Nikki Hale gets a $575 pistol for Christmas

  • Ken Shultz||

    I thought she would have made a good running mate for Romney. But then, photogenic and Tea Partyish, they'd have gone after her like they went after Palin.

    And Romney didn't need that.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Friend of mine has the Storm. I've shot it, I liked it.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    John C. Calhoun would freak out to learn that an armed Asian woman was running his beloved state!

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

  • Rich||

  • Sevo||

    Dis-A-Greed!
    Women always look the worst at 9PM, and they improve greatly until 2AM.

  • ||

    If by "worst" you mean "fattest."

  • Rich||

    OT: LA airport attack: Paul Ciancia pleads not guilty

    Police say he had a handwritten letter stating he wanted to kill multiple TSA officers and "instil fear in your traitorous minds".

    It is unclear why he targeted TSA officials.

    Now, *that* is some mighty fine journalism.

  • ||

    Obviously they haven't read any of the stories about the TSA or it wouldn't be "unclear" why he targeted them.

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    Henri 5, "The Worst Noël"

  • Gene||

    Intent to distribute is bullshit, as an example when cops find a few straggly seedlings growing they are given an automatic value of $1000 per unit. It doesn't matter if there is no reasonable expectation of attaining the 5-6 ozs of yield per plant or that half of them are essentially worthless males, tough shit, obviously some Narc told a DA somewhere once that every plant is worth that sum and it has been repeated as gospel for ever since. Mind you, it could be the end of August and the plants are only 10 inches high and likely will only yield a few grams, it don't matter $1000 is the value the judge and or jury will hear.

    When I got busted nearly 3 years ago, luck must have been on my side, the 900 plus grams of chopped weed they found was meant for bubble hash - thank Aqua Buddha they didn't find the 2 lbs of good shit hidden away - was more than enough to send me away for awhile, Mandatory Minimums were just enacted as law months earlier here in Canukistan. The crown had asked for 90-180 days plus a large fine, leading up to the court date I was seriously stressed and prepared for the worst. At the end of the day 1 year of probation was all I received, the fact that I have worked since I was 18 and run a farm while holding down a shitty job in a foundry may have swayed the judge or the fact that the bust occurred in my home while the cops were investigating my wife's untimely death. I got off easy but so many others don't.

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