Methadone Possession Results in 40 Year Sentence:
In a nutshell: a man is stopped for a traffic violation, consents (!) to have his car searched. Is found to have a baggie and a scale with trace amounts of amphetamine/cocaine - and also a bottle with "three wafers of methadone" said to weight 5.14 grams (yes, grams). The "wafers" were in a bottle with a label indicating they had been prescribed for an acquaintance - the named acquaintance testified she dropped the medication in defendant's car and forgot to take it with her when she left; this is same story defendant told. Appeal based (as far as I can tell) entirely on the admissability of the trace amts amphetamine/cocaine to indicate to jury defendant's "character" and likelihood that the methadone "contraband" was there knowingly and with criminal intent. Conviction and resulting sentence are for the methadone possession - not the presence of trace amounts amphetamie/cocaine. .
First: no way in hell three "wafers" in one medication bottle can weight 5.14 grams -that's 5,140 mg, or roughly 100 days' of average dose medication. Presumably they made mistake - off 1000-fold on weight.
Second, the reason the medication was in car was perfectly reasonable according to defendant and corroborated by the person to whom the medication was legitimately given.
Third, bolstering with the finding of "trace amounts" of amphetamine/cocaine the preposterous notion that - in the face of the evidence - these three wafers were "contraband" and thus merited a prison sentence seems incredible.
And finally, even if the methadone were indeed "contraband" and had been acquired illegally for some nefarious purpose, and even if one gives great significance to the finding of "trace amounts" of other substances and what it might say about the defendant, and even assuming presence of that trace amount (which resulted in no criminal charge) was/is admissable...a 40 year prison sentence??? For three "wafers" of methadone - i.e., three days' supply?
Anything anyone can do for this poor guy? It seems absolutely outrageous - and the people of Texas will be paying for the man's incarceration for many decades. What a disgraceful indictment of our "war" on drugs...(and anyone wanna bet on the defendant's race?) Suggestions.
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