Tuesday, May 06, 2014

People v. Weeks (Cal. Ct. App. - March 18 2014)

On the one hand, correctional officers found some marijuana and a weapon in defendant's locked foot locker in prison.  That's pretty good evidence that it was his.

On the other hand, as the opinion reflects, the possession of locks in prison isn't nearly as orderly as one might think it would (and assuredly should) be.  Apparently it's not totally unknown for prisoners -- who aren't idiots -- to hide stuff in another inmate's locker.  Especially when they know the lock's combination because the lock was passed down from a previous inmate to the new one.  And the weapon in this case was indeed hidden reasonably well:  right underneath the lip of the locker, with a magnet to attach it.  Pretty clever.

So you'd think that defendant had a decent case that the stuff wasn't his.  Especially since he says -- quite credibly -- that since he only had eight months on his sentence, there was no way he'd be so stupid as to jeopardize that status for a little weed.

Which makes sense.  The only problem being that defendant also admitted that he smoked marijuana "whenever he could".  And said that he was "sure he'd come up dirty" from the drug test he took the day before the search.  Facts that strongly -- very strongly -- suggest that despite the fact that he's right that it'd be incredibly stupid to jeopardize his eight months remaining with serious charges, he is, in fact, precisely that stupid.

So he gets an additional dozen years in prison.  For having 1.2 grams of marijuana and a nail between two pieces of taped together wood.

Pretty harsh.  But, not surprisingly, we're pretty harsh on these sorts of things.