Introduction to American Court System

Introduction to American Court System

Jones, February 6, 2005, cocaine possession was his third drug offense. Under state and federal law there exists a rule called the three-strikes law, the law varies greatly from state to state with 28 states in the country that carry out the three-strikes laws (Walsh, 2007). The imposition of the three-strike law is to ensure that repeat offenders are continuously imprisoned. The law in Texas allows for the application of the three-strike law. I am of the opinion that in the case of Jones where he is a third offender he should be convicted under state law.

In Kansas, felonies are defined as crimes that can be prosecuted by a state term of a year or more. Proceeding with the case under state law will mean that the offender will receive mandatory sentencing. For a third strike offense of drug possession in Kansas, the mandatory sentencing is up to 42 months incarceration. Possession of marijuana as a third offense is presumed to be a drug severity level 5 felony that is punishable by incarceration for ten months’ probation and 42months incarceration with a maximum fine imposed at $100,000.

If we proceed with the case as a drug paraphernalia offense, we risk the sentencing that can be meted out against the defendant will change depending on the severity level. Possession of drug with an intention to cultivate is considered drug severity level 5 felony that is punishable by a ten months’ imprisonment and a fine not exceeding $100,000.  Possession with intent to use paraphernalia to store or ingest is considered a class A non-person misdemeanor punishable by one-year incarceration and fine not exceeding $2,500. Sale of the same paraphernalia is a class A nonperson misdemeanor liable to the maximum of 1-year imprisonment and fine not exceeding $2,500. I believe we should proceed with the case as a drug paraphernalia case.

I recommend filing the case in the city of Wichita. The offender, Jones has collaborated with the law enforcement officers to enable them to get a conviction. The drug court program under the City of Wichita Municipal Court is a program aimed at providing a nontraditional therapeutic approach to dealing with drug offenders. In a drug court the prosecutor, probation officers, a treatment provider and the defendant’s attorney, in this case, Jones will work to influence a substance free behavior to the defendant. Because the offense can be commuted to a paraphernalia possession, the defendant will have to enter a plea of guilty and he will commence with the drug court program without the case ever being set for trial. The defendant must complete a minimum one-year program that includes treatment, random drug testing, and regular court appearances. A successful completion of the requirements as laid out by the drug court will see the charges dismissed, and the defendant will be given an opportunity to avoid a criminal conviction.

Article 2 of Kansas rules of evidence states that at trial the witness testimony must and should be taken in an open court unless otherwise provided by law. The testimony of the undercover agents is sufficient as evidence against Smith. The erroneous admission of evidence in violation of a constitutional rights is governed by a federal rule called the federal constitutional error rule that contains therein provision which states that an error is harmless only if the reviewing court can be able to declare beyond any reasonable doubt that error had little, if any, the likelihood of changing outcome of a trial. The evidence offered as a testimony of the undercover agents, in this case, is relevant to the disputed fact, which is a drug sale. It is, therefore, imperative to state that the evidence is and can be admissible before a court of law.

In Kansas, the sentencing guidelines are very specific, and the charges preferred against an offender will largely depend on the person’s prior charges and the amount of drugs that he is alleged to have been selling. A person that has been accused of selling Cocaine like Smith might be looking at very serious time in prison of around 14 to 51 months or 4with general original jurisdiction years behind bars as a felony record. The place of suit for the offense committed by Smith the most appropriate and suitable court with competence to entertain such a case is the Kansas District Court. It is a creation of the constitution with both general and original jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases.

Original jurisdiction of the District Court is its power to hear a case for the first time, basing my argument on this premise, I am of the opinion that since this case has not been heard before the District Court is the appropriate place of suit for the case. General jurisdiction refers to the power of the court to hear all types of cases except those which have been prohibited by the laws of the state, in this particular case Kansas. The District court also has general jurisdiction to hear the case since it is not barred by any state law. If it is a felony charge that involves 450grams to 30kg the sentencing will be 92 to 144 months and a fine of $300,000. If it involves 30kg or more, the sentencing will be 138 to 204 months behind bars and a maximum fine of $300,000. It is important to note that the sentencing that will be meted out to Smith will greatly depend on the category and drug severity level.

It is a rule that when a party to a case asserts an error without providing any argument or authority that supports the assertion, an appellate Court cannot address the appellant’s claim of an error in the case. In this case scenario the defendant, Mr. Thompson is on record to having sold Jones, the informant cocaine on five different occasions. It is also on record that Thompson has never sold to the undercover cops as he is very wary of acquiring new customers. The sales made to Jones were personally observed by the undercover detectives. Once a criminal prosecution against a defendant has commenced, the defendant’s statements that he makes to an undercover informant that is acting as an agent for the state cannot be used against the accused in a trial for any reason including impeachment of the defendant’s testimony.

The credibility of having Jones stand as prosecution witness with the aim of a successful conviction is highly in doubt, and upon the face of the law, it will not be accepted. In the State of Kansas v. Donnie Ray Ventris. The petitioner petitioned the Court to review Court of Appeals decision that affirmed his convictions for aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary. The petitioner is the assertion that the district court had improperly admitted into evidence an impeachment testimony from a jailhouse informant that had been surreptitiously planted in his jail cell by the state. The Court held that the admission of the informant’s statements as evidence in the case was a violation of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel. It is, therefore, sufficient to say that Jones testimony as evidence cannot be relied upon by the prosecution. In any attempt to introduce a case for

In a case of Walder v the United States. The case allowed for the admission of illegally obtained evidence to impeach a defendant even though the evidence was not admissible in the government’s case-in-chief. The prosecution has to share with the defense any information that forms the basis of the defendant’s case. The prosecution normally has to disclose all the witnesses that are relevant to the case regardless of whether or not they will testify; they often don’t have to reveal the informant’s identity. During the trial the prior convictions of the confidential informants can be used to rebut witness statements, there are instances when the informants were convicted offenders, liars or even double agents (Kelly, 2016).

The appropriate place of suit for the case is the state court of Kansas. A federal court has jurisdiction over drug-related offenses that involve bringing or transportation of drugs into the country. The case at hand involves a drug dealer, the court with jurisdiction to ensure the Minimum mandatory sentencing is the State court. It has jurisdiction over drug-related offenses that take place within the state.

References

Didier, M.A.(n.d) Kansas Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences. Retrieved from:                 http://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/criminal-defense/felony-             offense/kansas-felony-class.htm

Kansas Laws & Penalties (2016). Retrieved from: http://norml.org/laws/item/kansas-penalties-2

Kelly, A. (2016) Learning the Identity of a Confidential Informant. Retrieved from:                 http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/learning-the-identity-confidential-            informant.html

Walsh, J. E. (2007). Three strikes laws. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press.

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