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COA: Possession of syringe doesn’t support conviction

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Because the state did not introduce evidence that a man intended to use a syringe found in his pocket after being stopped by police to inject a controlled substance into his body, his conviction for Class A misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia must be reversed, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded.

The judges overturned the conviction in Tony Sluder v. State of Indiana, 03A01-1305-CR-208, in which Tony Sluder argued insufficient evidence to show he intended to use the syringe to introduce a controlled substance into his body.

Sluder was riding his moped when stopped by Columbus police officer Troy Love, who recognized Sluder and confirmed he had outstanding warrants. When Love searched Sluder, he did not find the syringe. Officer Angela Owens, who responded to a call to transport Sluder to jail, searched Sluder again and found the syringe.

Sluder initially denied the syringe was his, then later claimed the syringe was his sister’s, which he used to feed puppies after their mother was killed. It was in his pocket because he fed the puppies earlier that day. He was convicted at a bench trial after the judge found Sluder’s and his sister’s testimony not credible.

“The State argues in its brief that Sluder exhibited behavior indicating a consciousness of guilt because he denied that the syringe was his but testified to a different story at trial and allegedly hid the syringe,” Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote. “Merely denying ownership of an item without more is insufficient to indicate a consciousness of guilt. Second, there is no evidence that Sluder hid the syringe when he was arrested. … The mere fact that the syringe was not found until the second search is not evidence that Sluder hid the syringe.”
 

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  1. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

  2. Right on. Legalize it. We can take billions away from the drug cartels and help reduce violence in central America and more unwanted illegal immigration all in one fell swoop. cut taxes on the savings from needless incarcerations. On and stop eroding our fourth amendment freedom or whatever's left of it.

  3. "...a switch from crop production to hog production "does not constitute a significant change."??? REALLY?!?! Any judge that cannot see a significant difference between a plant and an animal needs to find another line of work.

  4. Why do so many lawyers get away with lying in court, Jamie Yoak?

  5. Future generations will be amazed that we prosecuted people for possessing a harmless plant. The New York Times came out in favor of legalization in Saturday's edition of the newspaper.

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