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.
While the State College Borough's decision to pass an ordinance to create a summary, non-traffic violation to cover people who possess less than 30 grams of marijuana is being touted as a "decriminalization of marijuana," that simply is not the case. The misdemeanor offense of Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana under 35 P.S. § 780-113(a)(31) remains viable and on the books. More importantly, the other charges associated with marijuana, such as a misdemeanor Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and a felony charge of Delivery of Marijuana remain the law in Pennsylvania, and no State College Borough ordinance was created to deal with those charges.
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.
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.
A Centre County judge has recently issued a ruling in a State College drug delivery case that held that the "drug-free school zone" mandatory minimum sentence is constitutional. The school zone mandatory sentence can be invoked by prosecutors in Pennsylvania drug distribution, possession with intent to deliver, or manufacturing cases if the alleged criminal activity occurred within 1,000 feet of a school, which includes colleges and universities, or within 250 feet of a recreational facility. The school zone sentencing law requires a judge to impose a 2 year mandatory minimum sentence for every felony drug conviction that occurred within the required distances.
According to an online newspaper report, a Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney was recently arrested and charged with various offenses related to the delivery of drugs after he allegedly sold prescription pills to an undercover police officer on two separate occasions. Ironically, it is claimed that the lawyer had just represented a doctor that had been accused of over-prescribing medications to clients and that the lawyer delivered oxycodone pills to an undercover officer one day after the doctor's trial had ended. Approximately one month later, the attorney allegedly called the undercover officer again and delivered 180 oxycodone pills to him in exchange for approximately $3,000.00.
As a State College drug defense attorney, I am very familiar with police officers going under cover, buying marijuana from drug dealers, and then charging the dealers with felony offenses of drug delivery and possession with intent to deliver. The deals are done somewhat secretly to avoid detection. A Georgia deputy sheriff chose a different approach and decided to distribute marijuana while in full uniform, displaying his badge, and selling drugs out of the back of his squad car. According to the FBI, it is alleged that the deputy had quite an operation and distributed approximately 10 to 15 pounds of marijuana a week.