Although moves to decriminalize marijuana have met with some success in
other states, those convicted of possessing the drug in Texas can still
face severe penalties. One Round Rock teenager is facing a particularly
harsh sentence if he is convicted on charges of making and selling pot
brownies: he could get up to 99 years in prison.
The 19-year-old Round Rock teen was charged with
possession of 1.5 pounds of the drug, after a neighbor claimed to smell marijuana
coming from his apartment and called police. When cops entered the young
man's apartment, they allegedly found the brownies. The young man
was accused of selling the brownies for $25 apiece. The possession charge
is a first-degree felony. The brownies allegedly contained hash oil, which
is more powerful than typical marijuana, and increases the severity of
the alleged crime.
About a hundred people showed up at the courthouse to show their support
for the teenager when he arrived for a recent pre-trial hearing. The supporters
sold t-shirts, carried signs and called for marijuana to be decriminalized.
The teen's attorney is apparently putting up an aggressive defense.
He argues the case should be dismissed because officers illegally entered
the young man's apartment. According to the attorney, the officers
failed to identify themselves as cops before gaining entry to the teen's home.
There are a number of potential defenses that can be raised in drug possession
cases. As in this case, the accused can argue that authorities acted illegally
in conducting the search that led to discovery of the drugs. If this defense
is successful, the evidence that was seized can be excluded from evidence
at trial. Without the drugs in evidence, the prosecution's case will
typically fall apart.
Source: NBC-2.com, "Teen facing 99 years for pot brownies heads to court,"
June 20, 2014