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Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court posts one today

Ritchie Halsema v. State of Indiana/Frank L. Halsema v. State of Indiana (3/9/05 IndSCt) [Criminal Law and Procedure]
Rucker, Justice

Is the weight of a given quantity of drugs a matter of general knowledge and experience that jurors possess? On this record we conclude it is not. * * *

In order to prove the element of weight of drugs or controlled substances, the State must either offer evidence of its actual, measured weight or demonstrate that the quantity of drugs or controlled substances is so large as to permit a reasonable inference that the element of weight has been established. In this case the State failed to carry its burden. As a result, the Halsemas’ convictions for possession of methamphetamine within 1000 feet of a school as Class A felonies are reversed. In Frank Halsema’s case we remand this cause to the trial court with instruction to impose sentence as a Class B felony. In Ritchie Halsema’s case we remand with instructions to vacate the conviction.
Sullivan and Boehm, JJ., concur.

Shepard, C.J., concurs in part and dissents in part with separate opinion. Dickson, J., joins.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 9, 2005 02:03 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions