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Felony Drug Delivery/Possession With Intent to Deliver Archives

Santa Arrested After Gifting Marijuana at Restaurant

A man got himself into some legal hot water after he decided to spread Christmas cheer by gifting marijuana to customers and employees at a California Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant. The man allegedly wrapped marijuana in napkins before handing it to customers. The man also must have been thoroughly impressed with the food and service because he stuffed a large quantity of marijuana in the bartender's tip jar. The police responded and found that the would-be Santa had an additional two pounds of marijuana with him.santa_marijuana_distribution.jpg

Stiff Sentences For Selling Heroin Near An Elementary School

A 61-year-old woman was arrested after she allegedly sold heroin to undercover police officers in the Philadelphia area. According to the Philly.com article, the woman's home sits on a 1.7 acre lot, but her property is only 150 feet from an access road to the New Eagle Elementary School. Precisely where the delivery of the drug occurred on the property could substantially impact the sentence that the woman receives if she is convicted of the felony drug charge.

Suspect Lists Drug Dealer as Occupation on Arrest Report

I do believe that honesty is the best policy, but there are often situations in the criminal process in which it is better for a person to remain silent, or forgo answering questions, instead of being honest.  A man was recently stopped in Florida after he allegedly cut off an unmarked police car. The man and his vehicle were searched, and the police found 22 grams of heroin, 5.3 grams of cocaine, and $2,316 in cash. The man was arrested, charged with drug possession, and bail was set at $242,000.00. The online article did not specifically state the charges that were filed, but I am sure that they would have been felony offenses of possession with intent to distribute. Aside from the relatively large quantities of drugs, how did the police know, or at least have  reason to suspect, that the man intended to sell the drugs? He listed his occupation on the arrest report as "drug dealer." An admission is pretty damning.

Toilet Paper Links Man to Pennsylvania Robbery

The police often investigate and solve offenses like robbery, assault, and burglary by using scientific evidence such as DNA and fingerprint analysis, video surveillance, and even monitoring of social media sites. In other situations, cases are solved through good old fashioned detective work. In a recent Pittsburgh area robbery attempt, a man handed a Pizza shop employee the typical demand document that said "I have a gun, Give me $300.00." The note  was written on a piece of toilet paper. The would-be robber did throw a curve ball into the typical robbery situation by claiming that he was being forced to commit the theft by another unknown man who had threatened the robber with the gun. Basically, the robber was claiming that he was being forced to commit the criminal act because he was being threatened by an unknown man with a gun.

Poll Shows Majority of Americans Oppose Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Non-Violent Offenders

According to a recent Huffington Post article, 77% of Americans are in favor of putting an end to mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent offenders. Many of the non-violent offenders are in prison based upon severe sentences that are imposed on drug-related crimes. For example, in Pennsylvania, one of the most ridiculous mandatory minimum sentences, commonly called the "drug-free school zone", imposes a two-year minimum sentence on a person that is convicted of delivery, possessing with intent to deliver, or manufacturing a drug within 1,000 feet of the real property of a school or 250 feet within the real property of a recreational facility. Many people would support such a law as they want to keep drug dealers and that type of activity away from children, and as a parent, I would probably support such a law. However, the definition of "school" includes colleges and universities, so a Penn State or Lock Haven student that sells a small amount of marijuana to a friend or gives him an Adderall pill faces a two-year mandatory minimum sentence. If the school zone mandatory sentence did not apply, a person charged with distributing less than one pound of marijuana who did not have a prior criminal record would generally face a probationary sentence up to one month in jail. It does not make sense that a person that sells marijuana 1,001 feet from a school can avoid jail time but a person selling on campus gets a two-year sentence in a state correctional facility. While such students should be punished for illegal activity, the punishment should fit the crime.

Philly Homeowners Sue District Attorney to Stop Forfeitures

Many people are not aware that the government can seek forfeiture of people's property if the property is somehow believed to be involved in criminal activity. I believe that most people would not have a problem with the government seizing the proceeds of illegal activity or property and things that were purchased with such proceeds. For example, if a person were a large scale drug dealer, the dealer may have money in the bank, cash in a safe in the house, cars, motorcycles, and  even a vacation home. In such cases, I suspect that no one would have a problem with the government seizing such items as a criminal should not be able to benefit from the illegal activity.

Pennsylvania Superior Court Rules Drug Mandatory Sentences Are Unconstitutional

I believe that it is undisputed that the current drug-related mandatory minimum sentences in Pennsylvania, like the "drug-free school zone" and "drug trafficking," are unconstitutional. The laws as written do not require a prosecutor to actually charge a person with the mandatory, and prosecutors are not required to prove applicability of the drug mandatory sentences to a jury with a beyond a reasonable doubt standard. The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling which requires that such mandatory sentences be proven to a jury beyond a reasonable  doubt. Clearly, the Pennsylvania drug sentencing laws as written violate what the U.S. Supreme Court has said is required.

Blair County Rules School Zone Sentencing Law Unconstitutional

Following the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Alleyne v. U.S., defense attorneys across the state of Pennsylvania have brought challenges to the constitutionality of various mandatory minimum sentencing laws related to felony drug convictions for delivery and possession with intent to deliver controlled substances. A constitutional challenge to mandatory minimum sentences for drug-free school zone, drug trafficking, and certain drug offenses committed with firearms was recently brought by an Altoona criminal defense attorney in Blair County. The Hollidaysburg judges sat as an en banc panel, meaning that all of the judges considered the issue, and held that the mandatory minimum sentencing laws were unconstitutional.

Twenty Pounds of Marijuana Found During Traffic Stop Near Penn State

Pennsylvania State troopers from the Rockview Barracks in Centre County recently stopped a rented van from Michigan after the driver failed to use a turn signal when switching lanes. During the traffic stop, the police asked the driver if the police could search the van, and the driver consented. The troopers removed two Christmas gifts and a piece of luggage from the van. A drug-sniffing dog was brought to the scene and alerted to the Christmas packages, meaning it was suspected that the packages contained drugs. The packages were then opened, and the troopers found approximately 20 pounds of marijuana.  The man was  arrested, taken before a Centre County judge for a Preliminary Arraignment on charges of Possession With Intent to Deliver Marijuana in violation of 35 P.S. 780-113(a)(30).

Woman Arrested After Calling Cops on Drug Dealer for Selling Substandard Weed

When a person buys prescription narcotics or over-the-counter drugs from a pharmacy, the person expects to get a quality product because of the voluminous regulations that are imposed by the FDA to ensure safety. However, when a person chooses to buy illegal drugs off the street, the FDA regulations do not apply, so you must take a "buyer beware" approach. When a person is looking to hire a company or a person to provide a service, they often check online for reviews from former clients to ensure that they are dealing with a reputable businessperson. Regrettably, I do not believe that people that are involving in the illegal distribution of drugs are posting online profiles with client reviews. I  represent many Penn State students that are charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia because they had a scale. Why would a student that was not dealing drugs have a scale? Because they didn't trust the dealer to actually give them the agreed upon amount, so the student wants to independently weigh the drug to ensure that he or she isn't being cheated.