The crime laboratory report of a substance found in my client's possession says "preliminaty analysis indicated the presence of cathinone and cathine which is characteristic of catha edulia. Note: confimatory analysis could not be performed in accordance with laboratory protocol." Can my client be convicted of possession of cathinone on the basis of this data and nothing more?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Re: Drug Analysis
I don't even know whatthat substance
is or what schedule controlled substance it is.
If it is a scheduled C/S under NCGS 90 et. seq.
I would approach the case with inquiring why the initial stop and search, then what teh LEO
though the stuff was. If it is off-white powdery substance or rock
they prob though it was cocaine.
I'm guessing your lab analysis did not come from Raleigh but from a
private lab. But your question then comes in- if they didn't test it
can they prove it. I think the answer is that
the client cannot be convicted, but the case must be
won by not having it go to the jury. The DA should
kick the case entirely or take a plea to misd
paraphernalia possession if your client wants to
plead to anything. If that fails set it for trial
and voir dire the witness or whoever is going to introduce the
analysis. The raw lab report should not be admitted without support
by an expert. Do not allow the lab worker to be qualified as an expert
without voir dire. Have the lab worker state over and over until teh judge sustains DA objection
to repetitive that they didn't test the stuff.
The judge should not send the question to the jury.
Make sure you preserve your objections "for the record" so the judge knows you are going to take
the case up on him if you lose. I'm at home now or I would cite scripture in NCGS as to
why the stuff cannot be found to be C/S beyong a reasonable doubt without analysis.
I'd bet your LEO did not know what it was- did he smell
something or taste something? Voir dire him to find
what training he had to identify that substance. How does that substance
compare with cocaine or heroin? How was it packaged?
If he didn't know what it was or was mistaken and the lab didn't test it
it should not pass the reas doubt threshold. Good luck.
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