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COA affirms drug dealing, possession convictions

July 27, 2012

A man convicted of multiple felony drug charges and sentenced to 50 years in prison with 15 years suspended was not deprived his Fourth Amendment rights, the Court of Appeals ruled Friday.

Andre Graham appealed his convictions of Class A felony dealing in cocaine, Class A felony possession of cocaine, Class B felony dealing in a schedule III controlled substance, and Class D felony possession of a controlled substance. Graham argued that the traffic stop that led to discovery of the drugs was a violation of the Fourth Amendment and that the evidence that led to his convictions was insufficient.

Jeffersonville police arrested Graham in May 2010 after a traffic stop that was instigated after a lieutenant witnessed Graham in what he believed was a drug deal. The lieutenant informed a patrolman who stopped the car Graham was driving after Graham failed to signal a lane change.

Graham said the traffic stop lasted 58 minutes, including a long period of time before he was questioned about whether he possessed drugs. The appellate court agreed with the state’s contention that the amount of time wasn’t improper because an officer had to run checks on Graham and two passengers and prepare the citation for an illegal lane change.

Graham argued there wasn’t circumstantial evidence from which a reasonable fact finder could determine he had the intent to deal, but the appellate court held it didn’t need to consider circumstantial evidence.  “Graham admitted at trial he intended to share the pills and cocaine with his friends,” according to the unanimous order written by Judge Melissa May.

“As ‘delivery’ is statutorily defined as an actual or constructive transfer from one person to another, Ind. Code § 35-48-1-11, we conclude there was sufficient evidence to prove Graham intended to deliver the drugs in his possession, thus supporting his convictions of dealing,” May wrote.

 

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