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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. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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