Brief Fact Summary.
Defendant was pulled over by an officer because the officer suspected that Defendant was driving under the influence. When the officer approached the vehicle, the officer found and seized a substantial amount of marijuana, PCP, a scale, several hundreds of dollars, sandwich baggies, and other items. Defendant was arrested and convicted of possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
A defendant may be charged with the intent to distribute, if a rational jury could conclude, based on the totality of the circumstances, that every element was proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
An officer's decision to place a traffic offender in the back of a patrol car does not create a reasonable, articulable suspicion to justify a pat-down search that the circumstances would not otherwise allow.View Full Point of Law
Glen, Defendant was driving through Yosemite National Park when Ranger Matthew Ducasse stopped him for driving erratically. The Rangers thought Defendant was under the influence and requested Defendant to exit the vehicle. When Defendant exited the vehicle, the Ranger found a glass jar containing rolled cigarettes on the floor, which was found to be phencyclidine (PCP). Additionally, Defendant contained high levels of PCP in his blood and urine. Further, the Ranger testified that he saw a plastic toolbox and a jacket in the vehicle, which plastic bags containing a leafy substance. The Ranger seized both items and found marijuana, a scale, sandwich bags, a package of cigarette paper, and a map of Yosemite with multiple numbers listed on the back. On Defendant’s person, Defendant had several hundreds of dollars. Subsequently, Defendant was convicted of possession with the intent to distribute marijuana. Defendant appealed his conviction alleging that the Government offered insufficient evidence that he intended to distribute the marijuana found in his possession.
Whether a rational jury could have found that Defendants conviction, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, was proven beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt.
Yes, a rational jury could have found that Defendants conviction, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, was proven beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt.
At trial, an expert witness testified that the quantify of marijuana found in Defendant’s possession is substantially more than one would possess for personal consumption. Instead, because Defendant was carrying a scale, plastic sandwich bags, which may be used to package the marijuana, and several hundreds of dollars on his person, he evidence indicated that Defendant had an intent to distribute the marijuana.Â Therefore, based on the totality of the circumstances, a rational jury could conclude that the elements of the Defendant’s conviction were satisfied.