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Marijuana in Prison Cell

Case Conclusion Date: 09.24.2009

Practice Area: Criminal defense

Outcome: Not guilty jury verdict.

Description: Client was an inmate at Phillips State Prison in Gwinnett County. During a cell sweep marijuana was found in his cell. No one else was in the cell at the time. Client was serving life for murder, but had the possibility of getting paroled some day. Possession of marijuana by an inmate is a felony, so a guilty plea or verdict would have been bad for his chances of parole. Before trial the Judge told me that she felt my client would be found guilty as soon a jury learned he was serving life for murder and she urged me to have my client consider a plea deal. I filed a motion under the Supreme Court case of Old Chief v. US. Over the prosecution's objection the Judge reluctantly agreed with me that the jury would not be told that client had been convicted of murder, had been sentenced to life, and that he was still in prison. After some bumping of heads the client finally agreed to do exactly what I told him to do during trial. Three guards and 1 inmate testified for the prosecution. We had no witnesses for our side - just me. After a THREE day trial, the jury found the client not guilty in less than an hour. When the jury learned about the nature of the murder that client had been previously convicted of they said they would have found him guilty if they had know. That was why I had to keep them from knowing.

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