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Corrections officer arrested on drug possession charges

Drug charges in New York must pass a variety of requirements prior to sustaining a conviction. Criminal intent must always be proved. With drug possession with intent to sell charges, the intent to sell can be shown by circumstantial evidence, but it should be sufficient enough to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The recent arrest of a Long Island correction officer by Nassau County authorities on drug charges may raise some issues. The man was allegedly found with 10 Adderall pills and charged with the misdemeanor of possession of amphetamines. Adderall is a drug prescribed legally by doctors for attention deficit disorder and other treatments.

On a second count the authorities charged him with the felony of possession of amphetamines with intent to sell. The press reports are sketchy, so that this discussion is duly limited. However, it may possibly be argued that the authorities cannot prove the felony charge, with the misdemeanor charge in question without more facts to support it.

The prosecutors are apparently saying that the man, who has been a guard at the Nassau County Jail since 2009, bought the ten pills with the intent to sell them. If there are no additional supportive facts, the prosecutors may be making a bald additional accusation of intent to sell. The case may thus depend on whether there is additional evidence not yet revealed.

That’s because the mere presence of ten pills in and of itself may be just as consistent with personal use. Furthermore, it’s not even clear at this point whether the suspect may have had a valid prescription for the pills. Additionally, it might be different with hundreds of pills, but with just 10, a future sale is not necessarily inferred. Without more, reasonable doubt arguably exists.

Under New York law, drug possession can possibly lead to an intent to sell conviction, but only with sufficient circumstantial evidence, such as packaging for sale, the presence of scales, paraphernalia, and other indicia of intended selling to rule out reasonable doubt. Here, there appears to be no such circumstantial evidence. If none is forthcoming, the defendant may consider filing a motion to dismiss the felony charge.

Source: pix11.com, "Nassau corrections officer allegedly intented to sell Adderall", , Aug. 12, 2014

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