Louisiana v. Kelly

800 So. 2d 978 (2001)

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Louisiana v. Kelly

Louisiana Court of Appeal
800 So. 2d 978 (2001)

  • Written by Patrick Speice, JD

Facts

Police officers searched Gwendolyn Minor’s house after learning that marijuana was being sold from the house and having an informant purchase marijuana from Minor. During the search, the officers smelled marijuana and found burnt marijuana cigarettes in the living room, small bags typically used for packaging marijuana in the bedroom, and 21 small bags of marijuana, loose marijuana, and cigarette rolling papers in Minor’s purse. The officers also observed Anthony Kelly (defendant) and Minor’s son attempting to flush a large bag containing another 21 small bags of marijuana down the toilet. Kelly and Minor were arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana. Kelly claimed not to know that Minor was selling marijuana, and Minor testified that Minor owned the marijuana and packaged and sold marijuana without Kelly’s knowledge. Kelly also claimed not to live in Minor’s house and produced a tax document listing another address, although Kelly had received mail at Minor’s address, and men’s clothing that would fit Kelly was found in the bedroom closet in Minor’s house. The state’s controlled-substance expert testified that the amount of marijuana found in Minor’s house and the way the marijuana was packaged in small bags suggested that the marijuana was for distribution, not personal consumption by Kelly and Minor. The expert also testified that an attempt to flush drugs down a toilet suggests a premeditated plan to dispose of the drugs if police entered the premises. Based on the evidence presented at trial, the jury convicted Kelly of possession with intent to distribute marijuana. Kelly appealed, arguing that the state did not prove that Kelly had the specific intent to distribute marijuana.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (McManus, J.)

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