Thursday, April 28, 2011

Finding Drugs in Patrol Car Sufficient to Prove Possession

State of Utah v. Martin, 2011 UT App 112 (Utah Court of Appeals, April 14, 2011).
Martin appeals a jury conviction of Possession of a Controlled Substance, which was found in the back seat of the patrol car where he had been placed following his arrest. 
The Court of Appeals found that there was sufficient evidence for a jury to conclude the methamphetamine belonged to Martin.  This based on the officer’s testimony that he had searched the vehicle prior to his shift, the drugs were found in the same area where Martin’s hands were, and Martin was observed moving around suspiciously in the back seat—leaning forward and fidgeting around, yet he never complained about being uncomfortable.  When the officer opened the door, he found Martin’s hand in his pocket and coins were spilling out.  Affirmed.

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