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Court orders new trial in methamphetamine case

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has ordered a new trial for a woman convicted of felony methamphetamine dealing, finding that the Hendricks Superior judge should have instructed the jury on a lesser-included offense of methamphetamine possession.

In Angela C. Garrett v. State of Indiana, No. 32A05-1105-CR-239, the appellate court examined a case involving a traffic stop in which Angela Garrett was a passenger. The driver told police he’d smoked marijuana that day and gave officers the remains of several joints. When police searched Garrett, they found two bundles of cash totaling $4,500, and in her purse they discovered a gun, two scales, small plastic baggies and material to cut methamphetamine and increase the volume. She also had a small pouch with about 26 grams of meth in three baggies, as well as a pipe, scale, and more small baggies. Another gun was found in the trunk.

Garrett first told police the drugs and weapons were hers, but later she said that the driver was the dealer, not her, and that he’d been physically abusive and had threatened to hurt her and her children if she didn’t tell police the drugs and weapons were hers.

Although Garrett asked at trial that the jury be instructed on the lesser-included offense of possession, the judge declined to instruct the jury and she was subsequently found guilty of Class A felony dealing methamphetamine and Class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license.

On appeal, the Court of Appeals declined to accept the state’s position that Garrett had waived her challenge to the court’s decision not to instruct the jury because she hadn’t submitted a written instruction for the trial court to review.

A serious evidentiary dispute existed about whether Garrett had intent to deal methamphetamine, the appellate court ruled. Citing its own caselaw from 1996, the Court of Appeals determined that the jury should have had the option to hear about that lesser-included offense – even if it wasn’t required to believe Garrett.

The case is remanded for a new trial.

 

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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