I’m sorry we had to rule ‘not guilty’ over the drug dealing charge on Friday. I know we all hated to do that, not only to you, but to the community. Why? Because he’s a dealer. You just failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was dealing the day he was arrested. Where did you go wrong?
1. He is an admitted addict. He has a four prosecutions of drug possession and three past dealing convictions. Sadly, we could not use that to say he was a dealer. We could only use it to judge whether or not his testimony was truthful. Yes, they found drugs in his car. What you didn’t do was prove to us that it was not for his personal use. They were all over this one. They repeatedly said it was for his use. With you silent with your side of the case, we weren’t sure if you were ignoring that comment or felt there was no use in addressing it. This left a lot of doubt in people’s minds. You never used your witnesses to prove this “personal use” claim wrong. So, we really weren’t sure what to think.
2. You didn’t align the evidence enough. While circumstantial evidence is usable, your lack of connecting the dots or getting your witnesses to connect the dots given their expertise in this area forced us to guess at the case you were trying to make. For example, there was a brief mention that drug dealers tend to have two phones. Yet, you don’t ever bring up the fact they found two cell phones (a crap phone and a good phone) in the car. One of your witnesses mentioned it while he read the inventory of what they found in his car, but that’s it. Your witness mentions it is common practice nowadays to rent a car to deal out of so that it is harder to trace back to one person. He has a rental. He says it is because his car is in the shop. No mention of whether or not that is true. I mean, pretty easy to check on that situation, isn’t it? So, we had all of this “evidence” but the lack of mentioning it made us wonder if it is was even worth considering.
3. The law for dealing drugs says that he had the intent for delivery on the day he was arrested. There was no solid evidence that this was what had happened. The police saw what may or may not have been a drug transaction. But there were no drugs. No money exchanged. Just a guy who ran from the police, acted weird, had a rental car, and had drugs in his car. This made the discussion around “without a reasonable doubt” very difficult. We had doubt about what was happening THAT day. You just didn’t have the evidence for it….sadly.
I did feel sorry for you though. You ended up with a jury that was a bit different than I think you had hoped for. Maybe you weren’t sure of what to expect given most of the potential jurers felt that the system was inequitable against the non-white accused. That sidebar debate did create a situation where there were few to choose after many expressed the same belief. But, then again, I think that you were assuming they would go after the race card in the case. They didn’t. You ended up instead with a group of people who seemed to have done a lot of drugs – enough to think that over 6grams of coke in his possession was, indeed, enough for personal use. Or that he, indeed, got a deal for buying coke in bulk – just like Walmart. Sure it was packaged in saleable sizes, but still. When the jurers were in college, they got the same deal. (Yes, this was an actual comment made by more than two people.)
So, in the end, we found him guilty on four of the five charges. Our hope is that next time, you have a better case against him. We are pretty sure he will do this again. I mean, maybe the 5th time will be a charm. Please nail his ass next time. I know it pained me to let that fucker go. I mean, I spent several months working with police to get rid of the drug dealing in our neighborhood. It kills me that we released one back into the community. Don’t put someone in that position again, okay?