United States v. Burkley
United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
513 F. 3d 1183 (2008)
The federal government (plaintiff) prosecuted Derrick A. Bailey (defendant) for firearm and drug offenses, including possession with intent to distribute marijuana in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). The trial evidence established that after stopping Bailey's car for erratic driving, police officers detected a strong odor of marijuana, and searched the car. Two cellphones in the car rang constantly during the search. The officers found two guns and ammunition, 157 grams of marijuana, a digital scale, and $242,250 in cash, most of which was shrink-wrapped in cellophane. Courts have held all such items to be indicia or tools of the drug-trafficker's trade. Expert witnesses testified that Bailey had no legitimate source of income, that 157 grams of marijuana is an amount more consistent with distribution than with personal use, and that drug traffickers commonly possess more than one cellphone. Bailey explained the large amount of cash as money he had been given so that he could book rap groups, but he could not precisely identify who gave him the money. Bailey also claimed that the marijuana was solely for his personal medicinal use. The jury convicted Bailey, and his appeal to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals focused on the sufficiency of the evidence on the possession-with-intent charge.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (McKay, J.)
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