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

October 10, 2013

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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