Texas Jury Pool Stands Against Drug Possession Case

A growing number of Americans are tired of the War on Drugs being fought against small-time offenders. They are tired of seeing people they know slapped with criminal records for having small amounts of drugs and they are tired of the court system being bound up by cases involving casual users rather than big time dealers. They are so tired, that one group in Texas told the court themselves that they wouldn’t convict even if there was sufficient evidence to prove a defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

According to ABC13-Houston, a jury pool of 130 was asked by the prosecutor a fairly basic question—if they would be able to convict the defendant if they believed he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Out of 130, 50 potential jurors said no.

Israel Rangel was charged with possession of cocaine. He was allegedly found with about “half as much coke as there is Sweet’N Low in a single packet.” While prosecutors won’t pursue possession charges where there is a single grain of coke, they will if there is enough to measure. In this case, the amount Rangel was charged with possessing was enough for felony charges.

Ultimately, Rangel was found not guilty—not because the jury saw the case as a waste of time, but because the evidence was weak.

But the shocking thing about the case was the number of people who was willing to say the trial was a waste of time.

“It says there is a segment of the population that doesn’t think small possession cases should be published as severely as the law call for them to be,” said Assistant District Attorney Julian Ramirez.

Possession of cocaine is always a felony in the state of Texas, no matter how much there is. While other states may classify the offense as a misdemeanor, there’s a good chance that many pulled for jury duty would still object to resources being used when the amount of drugs in question is likely not even enough to get the suspect high.

When you are accused of drug possession, you can only hope to get sympathy from the jury. Rather than depending on a jury of unknowns, however, many people opt to settle for a plea bargain, particularly when they believe the evidence is good enough that a conviction is likely.

Your defense lawyer can help you in determining what course of action is best for your particular case, given the laws of your state and the evidence against you. If you are charged with possession, let us put you in touch with a local defense lawyer today.


About David Matson

David writes about criminal justice issues.
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