An Essex County Superior Court jury convicted a fifty six year old man of trafficking over fourteen grams of cocaine on Thursday. He was sentenced to the minimum mandatory three year state prison sentence, two years probation from and after that sentence and a five year loss of license.
The case arose from the following set of facts. On August 10, 2007 police executed a search at the defendant’s home. When they encountered the defendant they conducted a “pat frisk” and found ten small packages of cocaine. As the search continued officers located over twenty grams of cocaine, thirteen bags of marijuana, some cash, a scale, a police scanner and other assorted drug paraphernalia. The defense unsuccessfully attempted to convince the jury that the drugs were for personal use only.
Massachusetts appellate courts have held time and time again that the presence of drug distribution paraphernalia permits juries to infer that a defendant intended to distribute the illegal substance. See for example Commonwealth v. Lopes, 25 Mass.App.Ct. 988 (1998). In cases such as this, where there are numerous separately packaged bags, scales, baggies and a police scanner the jury will be able to conclude that the defendant intended to traffic the substance. In this case, the defendant did not take the stand. That made rebutting the inference much more difficult for the defense attorney.
Related Web Resources:
Lynn man sentenced to three years in prison for drugs Lynn Item August 1, 2008
Massachusetts Cocaine Trafficking G.L. c. 94C sec. 32E