Amount of Narcotics in Defendant’s Possession Debated in Preliminary Hearing

By Danielle Silva

Department 8 would end the afternoon session with the preliminary hearing of Terrence Lamar Hutchinson. Mr. Hutchinson was arrested and charged with possession of controlled substances for sale and knowingly visiting a room where illegal controlled substances were being smoked or used.

Agent Shad Begley of the Yolo Narcotic Enforcement Team (YONET) testified on the stand. After sharing his background, as a sworn peace officer trained in narcotic sales, the court accepted him as an expert in heroin and methamphetamine sales.

Agent Begley testified that he had seen the defendant participate in three hand exchanges – exchanges in person where cash and controlled substances were physically exchanged. He would later state that he could not see what kinds of substances were exchanged and he had no photographs or videos of the transactions.

The defendant was formally arrested at an apartment where multiple controlled substances were being measured, packed, and used. The agent shared that the officers had had a warrant to search the location and arrested the individuals inside, due to their use of controlled substances. Agent Begley pointed out that several scales were scattered throughout the apartment, along with $1000 to $1100 in cash, and a sheet the agent described as a “Pay-Owe sheet” listing the prices at which drugs were sold. The agent had also found the bedroom had no bed, likely due to being a location for drug use.

Agent Begley shared that, prior to entering the residence, he would also participate in stakeouts. During these, he would notice the defendant going freely in and out of the apartment. He also didacknowledge that the defendant was not on the lease but appeared to be frequenting the apartment.

When the defendant had been arrested, 1.1 grams of a controlled substance had been found on him but no cash. The agent stated that the amount of the controlled substance on him could be deemed for personal use.

The prosecution also concentrated on the presence of a backpack inside of the apartment. The backpack had been found with heroin and meth in the bedroom area of the apartment. While another individual had been seen in the same room as the backpack, the prosecution again directed attention to the defendant’s ability to enter and exit freely.

After the witness stepped down, the defense argued that there was no physical proof that the defendant had been participating in the sale of drugs and no clear evidence of his ownership of the backpack. The prosecution argued that the testimony of the officer and the way the defendant could easily come and go from a location where drugs were being both sold and used was enough evidence to bring the case to trial.

The judge stated that he found the circumstantial evidence linked to the backpack substantial enough for the defendant to be brought to trial. Arraignment is scheduled for October 11 at 9 a.m.

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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