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Whitaker v. People

Colorado Supreme Court
48 P.3d 555 (2002)


Facts

David Whitaker (defendant) was taking a Greyhound bus from Los Angeles, California to Denver, Colorado. While the bus was on a scheduled stop in Grand Junction, Colorado, police officers boarded the bus and started conversations with several of the passengers. When Whitaker appeared nervous while conversing with the officers, the officers asked to see Whitaker’s luggage. Whitaker denied having any luggage, but admitted that he had placed his jacket and a few other items in a black bag located near him on the bus. Whitaker alleged the bag did not belong to him. After Whitaker consented to a search of the bag, the officers found almost nine pounds of uncut methamphetamine inside. Whitaker was convicted of (1) possession with intent to distribute over 1,000 grams of methamphetamine and (2) the special-offender finding of importing methamphetamine into Colorado. Whitaker appealed on the ground that the trial court erred in failing to include a mens rea requirement with regard to both the quantity of the drug involved and the importation offense. The court of appeals upheld Whitaker’s conviction, and Whitaker appealed the decision.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Hobbs, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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