ILNews

Judges affirm elevated drug convictions

Back to TopE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The state presented sufficient evidence to prove a defendant delivered and possessed methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a family housing complex, so the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed elevating his convictions to a higher felony level.

In Douglas Covey v. State of Indiana, No. 30A01-0906-CR-311, Douglas Covey appealed his convictions of dealing in methamphetamine as a Class A felony, possession of methamphetamine as a Class B felony, possession of methamphetamine as a Class B felony,  possession of marijuana as a Class A misdemeanor, and possession of paraphernalia a Class A misdemeanor.

Covey sold methamphetamine to a confidential informant of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department. During a second scheduled buy at the CI’s apartment, Covey saw a detective outside and tried to leave before getting into the apartment. Police stopped him and found marijuana and a pipe on him; they searched the area by the apartment and found a tin outside of the apartment door that contained two baggies of methamphetamine.

Covey argued that the state didn’t prove the place where he dealt or possessed marijuana was a “family housing complex” under Indiana criminal statute. The statute explains it could be a series of buildings operated as an apartment complex. Covey claimed defining an apartment complex relied on lease terms, but his argument is misplaced for the criminal statute, the appellate judges concluded. Judge Patricia Riley wrote that the fact that a hotel or motel would qualify as a family housing complex makes it clear the legislature wasn’t focused on the length of lease terms to define “family housing complex.”

The confidential informant testified that her apartment was located in “Greenfield Village Apartments” in which the name alone supports an inference that the place operated as an apartment complex, the judge continued.

The Court of Appeals also found it was up to Covey to place mitigating factors at issue, such as that there were no children around at the time, and that he was briefly within 1,000 feet of the complex, which would reduce his culpability. He failed to do so. The trial court didn’t commit fundamental error by not instructing the jury on the mitigating factors of Indiana Code Section 35-48-4-16(b) because Covey had the burden to bring up those factors to the jury.

The judges affirmed the admission of the methamphetamine found in the tin outside the apartment door.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  2. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  3. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

  4. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  5. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

ADVERTISEMENT