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COA upholds drug conviction

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The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a man’s argument that his charges should be dismissed or he deserved a mistrial, finding sufficient evidence to support his dealing in cocaine conviction.

In Ronyai Thompson v. State of Indiana, No. 49A05-1106-CR-323, Ronyai Thompson raised three arguments on appeal: that the trial court abused its discretion when it denied his motion to dismiss the charges against him under Indiana’s statute barring successive prosecutions; that the trial court improperly denied his Batson challenges; and that evidence was insufficient to support his Class A felony dealing in cocaine conviction.

Police had a house under surveillance, believing that drug transactions were happening there. While observing the home, police saw a man – later determined to be Thompson – driving to and from the duplex. When police decided to contact the people inside the home, they saw Thompson inside. After talking to Thompson, police determined he was the man driving the car and that his driving privileges had been suspended. After a search of the home, Thompson was charged in one case with driving while suspended; he was charged with various drug offenses and driving while suspended under another cause number.

He pleaded guilty to the driving while suspended charge in the first case and was later convicted of dealing in cocaine in the other case. At the trial under the second cause number, he tried to have the charges dismissed based on the state’s successive prosecution statute. He also challenged the state’s peremptory challenges of two African-American jurors.

The COA concluded that it may have been better for the state to join all the charges against Thompson, but that there was no evidence that the driving while suspended offense in the first case was part of a single scheme or plan with the drug offenses in the second case. With regards to the Batson challenges, other jurors who were not African-American were struck from the jury for similar reasons as the two African-American jurors. The judges found the trial court didn’t err when it allowed the state to use its peremptory challenges to strike the two African-American members of the venire.

Finally, the judges concluded sufficient evidence existed of Thompson’s constructive possession of cocaine to support the conviction.

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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