What can we learn about criminal law from the story of the Jesus and The Adulterous Woman in John Chapter 8 of the New Testament? We can learn about what criminal defense lawyers do. We can learn about the laws of evidence. We can learn about a jury’s right and power to sentence. We can learn about connecting persuasively with people.
The Minnesota Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision, has now ruled that Bong Water (water which had been used in a water pipe) was a “mixture” of “25 grams or more” supporting a criminal conviction for Controlled Substance crime in the first degree. The crime is the most serious felony drug crime in Minnesota, with a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison for a first offense. The case is Minnesota v Peck, A08-579, Minnesota Supreme Court, October 22, 2009.
The majority opinion takes a literal view, arguing in essence that any amount of a substance dissolved in water makes that water a “mixture” containing that substance. Perhaps. But, since Minnesota’s criminal prohibition laws are organized to make greater quantities of drug possession a more serious crime than smaller quantities, such a simple-minded view defeats the purpose of the quantity-based severity levels.