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State v. Fox

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Fox appealed a conviction for possession of a controlled substance in light of not knowing that Ephedrine was a controlled substance.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    Possession does not require that the defendant knows that he possesses a controlled substance, only that the defendant knows that he possesses a substance.

    Facts.

    Fox ordered 100,000 tablets of Ephedrine not knowing that it was illegal in Idaho at the time. Fox was charged and convicted for possession of a controlled substance.

    Issue.

    Whether mistake of law is a defense for possession?

    Held.

    No. The judgment against Fox is affirmed. Fox knew that he possessed 100,000 tablets of Ephedrine. Whether or not Fox knew that Ephedrine was illegal in Idaho is irrelevant.

    Dissent.

    (Bistline, J.) Idaho must do a better job of informing it’s citizens that Ephedrine is illegal within the state of Idaho because Ephedrine can be easily purchased in other states and brought within Idaho borders.

    Discussion.

    The crime of possession does not require the defendant to know what the substance in question actually is. A person who mistakenly possesses cocaine instead of what he believed to be powdered sugar still satisfies a possession charge.


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