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Defendant Claims He Did Not Play an Active Role in Drug Transaction


A team of police officers conducted a buy and bust narcotics operation. The undercover officer carried bills which had been photostatted and drove to the location where twelve people were standing near the area. The officer called out from his automobile asking if anyone had dimes. A New York Criminal Lawyer said based on records, the word dimes mean a $10.00 bag of heroin. The man then came over to the auto and asked the officer what he wanted. The officer then replied again the word dimes. Then, another man standing a few feet behind the first man asked the officer if he wanted Santa Claus. The officer being unfamiliar with the term ignored the other man. The officer again told the first man that he wanted dimes. The man asked how many and the officer replied to give him two. The man called over his shoulder the word duayduay and another man then walked to a tree about fifteen feet from the auto. He bent down, reached among the cobblestones at the base of the tree and removed some glassine envelopes. The first man told the officer to give him the money and he must give him one extra dollar. The officer gave the first man a ten, a five and five singles. The man then counted it and demanded the officer for another dollar. The officer gave him a five dollar bill and the man returned four singles. As the other man was returning to the car, another person walked over to the tree and the man yelled at him to get away. The other man then walked to the car and handed the officer the two glassine envelopes. The other man told the officer that he should get out of the area fast because it’s hot. The officer then left the area and made a transmission to his back-up team to arrest the two men. The police then recovered narcotics from the cobblestones at the base of the tree. The other man was found to have twenty dollars as recorded bills in his possession while only a single dollar bill was found on the first man.

The issue brought into the court was the argument whether the first man was an agent of the purchaser and whether the trial court’s charge on the defense of agency was damaging to the first man so as to require reversal of his conviction for criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree. A New York Criminal Lawyer said the court then concluded that the first man was not an agent of the purchaser but rather played an active role as seller of the contraband.

As the court admitted the question of the first man’s status in the illegal transaction was a proper question for the jury and one in which they accurately determined that the first man was a seller of drugs. Based on records, it is important to remember that when the undercover officer drove to the prearranged locale, the man was not the only individual on the street, but was part of a group of twelve men. After the undercover officer asked of the congregation if anyone had dimes, the man then voluntarily emerged from the crowd and inquired as to what the officer desired and in what quantity. The second man approached and handed the narcotics directly to the officer. A few minutes later, the first and second man was arrested at which the second man had in his possession the twenty dollars of marked money while the first man was in possession of the additional dollar.

Although judges labeled the first man’s receipt of the sole dollar as a tip, a reasonable reading of the facts, coupled with the realities of life, lead the court to conclude otherwise. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said that although most of the money was seized from the second man, the latter could certainly have been the middleman whose functions were to retrieve the drugs from its secreted location and to act as a banker, holding the receipts until completion of the day’s transactions. The dollar, which was furnished at the urgings of the first man, was not an unnecessary offering by the undercover officer for the first man’s cooperation. Rather, the earnings can reasonably be viewed as an attempt by the first man to obtain a little extra without having to fully account to his partner. The presence of the one dollar bill which was seized from the first man and its significance raised a factual question for the sole determination of the jury. It is not for the court to determine that the money was a tip, but it is simply another factor to be weighed by the jury.

The opposition in analyzing the case has termed the first man’s participation and profit therein as a minimal thing. The first man’s role was anything but minimal. Although the profit of the first man may have been small but can the court then say as the opposition seems to indicate that an approximate five percent extra yield on all drug transactions is a minimal thing. The profit motive is merely one of many factors to be considered in determining whether the first man is an agent of the buyer.

It is evident that the first man was not a tycoon, nor could he become one on the transaction however, other factors are present which clearly demonstrate that first man was not the agent of the buyer. These include the fact that first man and the buyer had no prior relationship. The first man had known to be with the second man for approximately ten years. The first man took the initiative and made the sale possible. A New York Drug Possession Lawyer said the first man also displayed a thorough knowledge of street trafficking in drugs and he overall manner and actions substantiate was a well choreographed, two-person, drug crime operation, conducted by two street wise entrepreneurs. The conclusion is inescapable that the first man fails to meet the standard of being a mere extension of the buyer. The labeling of the first man as an agent of the buyer is incorrect because to be an agent of his buyer, a narcotics merchant must be a mere extension of the buyer. He may act to obtain what the buyer wants because the buyer has asked him to do so, but not out of any independent desire to promote the transaction.

It is inconceivable how the first man fits within the description of an agent. Obviously, the first man’s actions indicated an independent desire to promote the transaction. The opposition would invoke the unrestricted jurisdiction and review the unobjected charge. However, under the facts of the case, since the alleged error was not preserved, no reason exists for the court to review the claim. Such case would not warrant the exercise of the court’s judgment in the interests of justice. Further, if the court were to review the charge, there was no error. The charge on the defense of agency did not distort the criteria to be utilized in determining the factual question of agency. As a result, the decision of the Supreme Court rendered convicting the first man of the drug crime of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, was confirmed.

Because of illegal drugs and the continuous selling and buying of it, young individuals get hooked in using it and those drugs could lead to crimes in the society. If you are hooked on drugs and get caught, you can inquire with the NY Drug Attorneys for possible legal assistance. If you opt to have the NY Criminal Lawyer at Stephen Bilkis and Associates, you can call the office and receive legal representation from the experts.

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