Chew on this: Positive meth test sufficient to affirm possession

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A federal offender on supervised release argued that just because he tested positive for meth didn’t mean he had possessed it. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals had a bite-sized, easy-to-digest ruling Tuesday.

“Inferring possession of a drug from the consumption of that drug is just as sensible as inferring, from the statement ‘I ate a hamburger for lunch,’ that the person possessed the hamburger before wolfing it down,’” Judge William Bauer wrote for the panel in rejecting Anthony Shockey’s argument.

That morsel from United States v. Trotter, 270 F.3d 1150, 1153 (7th Cir. 2001) rounded out the 7th Circuit’s four-page opinion in USA v. Anthony Shockey, 19-1308.

The panel affirmed the Northern Indiana District Court, which ordered Shockey to serve a 15-month prison sentence, revoking his supervised release, after finding that due to a positive test for methamphetamine, Shockey had also possessed the drug.

Shockey, on supervised release from a federal conviction for possessing a firearm as a felon, admitted during a revocation hearing that he had used meth, but he denied the Grade B violation requirement that he had possessed it. The district court rejected that argument, also relying on Trotter.

“The district court thus found that Shockey had both possessed and used methamphetamine — a Grade B violation that corresponded to a sentencing range of 21 to 24 months in prison. The court sentenced him below that range to 15 months, acknowledging the need for a ‘significant period of incarceration’ but recognizing that Shockey had stayed sober for 7 months before using methamphetamine and committed no other crimes,” the panel found. “… The district court reasonably could infer possession from use.”

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