Possession of precursors ruled lesser-included offense of greater crime

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A man who fled his car and left a “Nazi method” methamphetamine lab behind for police to find was able to get part of his conviction overturned because officers did not find any of the actual illegal drug.

Brian Lee Harrison was convicted of Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine; Class D felony illegal possession of anhydrous ammonia; Class D felony possession of chemical reagents or precursors with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine; and Class A misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia.

Before the Indiana Court of Appeals, Harrison argued his convictions for possession of the ammonia and of precursors with intent to manufacture must be vacated because they are lesser-included offenses.

The Court of Appeals agreed, finding the possession of the precursors can be a lesser-included offense of the greater crime of manufacturing methamphetamine.  

Pointing to Bush v. State, 772 N.E.2d 1020, 1022-23 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002), the unanimous panel held the police found the early-stage methamphetamine manufacturing process in Harrison’s car but none of the actual drug.

Thus, as in Bush, it is impossible to fairly state that the manufacturing and possession of precursors offenses are clearly independent of each other, Judge Paul Mathias wrote in Brian L. Harrison v. State of Indiana, 74A01-1407-CR-328. “We therefore reverse Harrison’s convictions for possession of anhydrous ammonia and possession of precursors and remand with instructions that the trial court vacate the convictions and sentences on these counts.”


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