Last week, the 12th District Court of Appeals in State v. Woodard, 2017-Ohio-6914 held that drug possession charges based upon the simultaneous possession of two or more controlled substances are not allied offenses of similar import. Essentially, allied offenses of similar import are offenses committed by engaging in the same act with the same motivation or mindset. When someone commits two or more separate offenses that are allied offenses of similar import, the court must merge the sentences of the separate offenses (known as "merger" or "the merger doctrine").
In an update to a previous blog post, the Ohio Supreme Court has decided a case that has drastic implications for how the weight of drugs, and specifically cocaine, is determined. In State v. Gonzales, the Court held that the State must prove the weight of the actual cocaine, excluding any weight of filler materials used in the mixture.
The Ohio Supreme Court is currently considering a case that could have drastic implications for how the weight of drugs, and specifically cocaine, is determined. In State v. Gonzales, the Court will determine whether the State needs to prove the overall weight of a substance containing cocaine or only the weight of the actual cocaine in the substance. Currently, the State is only required to prove the overall weight of the substance. The Sixth District Court of Appeals, however, held in early 2015 that the State must prove the weight of the actual cocaine possessed by the Defendant.
More than 400 people find themselves facing serious criminal charges after a statewide drug sweep spanning the last several weeks. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine recently told the media that the arrests resulted in 920 criminal charges. In addition to the seizure of $1.3 million in cash, drug task forces also seized:
The number of drug overdose deaths in Ohio tripled during little more than a decade, reaching 16.1 per 100,000 in 2013. The drug problem has spurred new laws and an increased emphasis on arrests for drug trafficking and possession. Unfortunately, Ohio's efforts to control the problem may result in infringing people's constitutional rights.