Friday, June 12, 2009

Chasing the Dragon in Pot County

State v. TeKippe, no. 07-1840 (Iowa Ct. App May 29, 2009).

TeKippe, checked out cocaine evidence in seven cases while he was a drug case prosecutor in Pot County, and never returned the evidence.

In other cases he had checked out cocaine evidence that he returned to the lab and was found in an altered and adulterated condition. He was tried and convicted of drug possession, misconduct in office for falsifying a public record and theft, and sentenced to ten years' confinement.

He argued that the misconduct charge could not be sustained because the seal on an evidence bag is not a public record. The court of appeals disagreed, noting that the signed heat seal is a record "of or belonging to" the government.

In addition, seven baggies containing cocaine residue were found on his property. He argued that the evidence of possession of drugs was insufficient. The court disagreed, finding that visible residue in the baggies, and a course of conduct on TeKippe's part would have allowed a reasonable jury to find him guilty of possession.

There's no real takehome from this case, except to note that it goes a long way toward defusing the notion that using dope is a harmless affectation with no victims.

It must have been pure hell sitting in court, knowing what was about to happen, and contemplation of the mess you'd made of your life.


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