Proving Knowing Ingestion of Drugs

Legal information on proving knowing ingestion of drugs:

  1. militarydefenselawyers342To be guilty of wrongful use of drugs the accused must know that (1) he or she consumed the relevant substance; and, (2) the substance was contraband. United States v. Mance, 26 M.J. 244 (C.M.A. 1988).
  2. Presence of drug metabolite in urine permits permissible inference that accused knowingly used drug, and that use was wrongful. United States v. Green, 55 M.J. 76, 81 (C.A.A.F. 2001); United States v. Mance, 26 M.J. 244 (C.M.A. 1988); United States v. Alford, 31 M.J. 814 (A.F.C.M.R. 1990).
  3. Permissive inference of wrongfulness may be sufficient to support conviction despite defense evidence that ingestion was innocent. United States v. Ford, 23 M.J. 331 (C.M.A. 1987) (permissive inference overcame accused’s suggestion that wife may have planted marijuana in his food without his knowledge).
  4. Ensure that the instruction on permissive inference as to knowledge and
    wrongfulness is not crafted in such a manner as to make it a mandatory
    presumption. A permissive inference is constitutional; a mandatory presumption
    is not. United States v. Brewer, 61 M.J. 425 (C.A.A.F. 2005) (instruction that
    military judge gave was confusing to the extent that it appeared to shift the
    burden to the accused to assert one of the three exceptions as to wrongfulness;
    findings and sentence set aside).
  5. United States v. Pope, 69 M.J. 328 (C.A.A.F. 2011). Military Judge abused his
    discretion in admitting a green detoxification drink under the doctrine of similar
    physical evidence, and by not giving a limiting instruction that the exhibit was
    entered into evidence for illustrative purposes only. The appellant had these
    types of drinks in her possession prior to the urinalysis in question, but none were
    recovered from the appellant directly. Government investigators purchased a
    similar drink on the economy. The only difference between this drink and the
    drinks that the appellant previously possessed was that the appellant’s drinks did
    not have a label. The trial counsel introduced the green drink as a demonstrative
    exhibit and also introduced expert testimony that these detoxification drinks,
    combined with drinking large volumes of water, can cause the metabolite
    concentrations to decrease, resulting in a negative urinalysis test.

Presence of drug metabolite in urine

United States v. Pope,