Ohio Supreme Court ruled that trafficking charge applies even without drugs

09 Jun 2010, by Benjamin Luftman in Criminal Law, Misc, News

In a 6-0 ruling, The Supreme Court of Ohio decided yesterday that drug dealers still face major penalties even if the drugs that were meant to be sold were never found.

“The earlier decision said a detectable amount of the controlled substance must be present in the drugs that are offered for sale before a court can impose the stiffer penalty for major drug offenders.”

The facts in the opinion state that “During a sting operation, petitioner Oliver Lucien Garr told a police informant that he would sell him two kilograms of cocaine. Garr and the informant met in a parking lot with the understanding that Garr would deliver the cocaine to the informant, but due to a disagreement over payment they did not complete the sale. Garr never produced any cocaine, and the state never recovered any substance offered for sale in connection with the events. Police arrested Garr several months later.”

Garr argued that there was no “detectable amount of a controlled substance” and referenced State v. Chandler. The trial court rejected his argument and imposed a mandatory ten-year prison sentence concluding that Chandler does not apply to offer-to-sell trafficking cases such as Garr’s.

In the news: Columbus Dispatch article and The Supreme Court of Ohio summary