Thursday, August 24, 2006

When is Five Grams Five Grams-Wet or Dry?

In State v. Johnson, No. 05-0535 (Iowa Ct. App. Aug. 23, 2006), the defendant was in the process of manufacturing methamphetamine when he was interrupted by law enforcement. Among the items seized were three glass jars that contained liquid methamphetamine which, if dried, would have yielded less than five grams. The county attorney amended the charge upward to 124.401(1)(b), a class B felony and Johnson entered an Alford plea.

On appeal the defendant alleges that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because when the liquids were dried there was less than five grams of methamphetamine and thus no factual basis for pleading to the top charge existed.

The Court of Appeals differed, finding that the statute was quite clear in its prohibition of manufacture of more than five grams of "...(m)ethamphetamine, its salts, isomers, or salts of isomers, or analogs of methamphetamine, or any compound, mixture, or preparation which contains any quantity or detectable amount of methamphetamine, its salts, isomers, or salts of isomers, or analogs of methamphetamine.


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