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Having the ingredients is not proof of a man’s intention to cook

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Despite the state’s attempt to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that its decision in a similar case was erroneous, the panel upheld precedent and found that a man’s possession of cold tablets and batteries is not proof he intended to manufacture methamphetamine.

The Court of Appeals overturned a Jennings County man’s conviction for Class D felony possession of chemical reagents or precursors with the intent to manufacture a controlled substance.

Dustin Jack Gifford was charged with intent to manufacture after police officers pulled him over and found two boxes of pseudoephedrine and lithium batteries hidden in his car. A friend who accompanied Gifford on the shopping spree told law enforcement their plan was to sell or trade the products for a “half gram of meth.”

On appeal, Gifford asserted the evidence was insufficient to prove he was going to make methamphetamine.

The state conceded in Prater v. State, 922 N.E.2d 746, 749 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010), the Court of Appeals held that the language of the statute requires proof that the defendant who possesses the drug-making ingredients must also have the “personal intent to manufacture methamphetamine.”

In Dustin Jack Gifford v. State of Indiana, 40A05-1304-CR-197, the Court of Appeals held the plain language of the statute is clear and declined the state’s invitation to revisit the issue.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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