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Judges affirm elevated drug convictions

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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.
 

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  1. Whilst it may be true that Judges and Justices enjoy such freedom of time and effort, it certainly does not hold true for the average working person. To say that one must 1) take a day or a half day off work every 3 months, 2) gather a list of information including recent photographs, and 3) set up a time that is convenient for the local sheriff or other such office to complete the registry is more than a bit near-sighted. This may be procedural, and hence, in the near-sighted minds of the court, not 'punishment,' but it is in fact 'punishment.' The local sheriffs probably feel a little punished too by the overwork. Registries serve to punish the offender whilst simultaneously providing the public at large with a false sense of security. The false sense of security is dangerous to the public who may not exercise due diligence by thinking there are no offenders in their locale. In fact, the registry only informs them of those who have been convicted.

  2. Unfortunately, the court doesn't understand the difference between ebidta and adjusted ebidta as they clearly got the ruling wrong based on their misunderstanding

  3. A common refrain in the comments on this website comes from people who cannot locate attorneys willing put justice over retainers. At the same time the judiciary threatens to make pro bono work mandatory, seemingly noting the same concern. But what happens to attorneys who have the chumptzah to threatened the legal status quo in Indiana? Ask Gary Welch, ask Paul Ogden, ask me. Speak truth to power, suffer horrendously accordingly. No wonder Hoosier attorneys who want to keep in good graces merely chase the dollars ... the powers that be have no concerns as to those who are ever for sale to the highest bidder ... for those even willing to compromise for $$$ never allow either justice or constitutionality to cause them to stand up to injustice or unconstitutionality. And the bad apples in the Hoosier barrel, like this one, just keep rotting.

  4. I am one of Steele's victims and was taken for $6,000. I want my money back due to him doing nothing for me. I filed for divorce after a 16 year marriage and lost everything. My kids, my home, cars, money, pension. Every attorney I have talked to is not willing to help me. What can I do? I was told i can file a civil suit but you have to have all of Steelers info that I don't have. Of someone can please help me or tell me what info I need would be great.

  5. It would appear that news breaking on Drudge from the Hoosier state (link below) ties back to this Hoosier story from the beginning of the recent police disrespect period .... MCBA president Cassandra Bentley McNair issued the statement on behalf of the association Dec. 1. The association said it was “saddened and disappointed” by the decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown. “The MCBA does not believe this was a just outcome to this process, and is disheartened that the system we as lawyers are intended to uphold failed the African-American community in such a way,” the association stated. “This situation is not just about the death of Michael Brown, but the thousands of other African-Americans who are disproportionately targeted and killed by police officers.” http://www.thestarpress.com/story/news/local/2016/07/18/hate-cops-sign-prompts-controversy/87242664/

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