Man Arrested for Possession, Sale of Drugs; Trial Set Because of ‘Totality of Circumstances’

By Zoey Hou

SACRAMENTO, CA– In a preliminary hearing here Thursday in Sacramento County Superior Court Department 9, prosecution witnesses provided what appeared to be strong evidence that Douglas Newrider was guilty of the possession and selling of heroin and methamphetamine.

The court ruled Newrider would have to stand trial.

On Nov. 2, 2020, Newrider and two other individuals were found standing in the driveway of a house on Ranch Street and Eleanor Avenue.

Testifying Officer Gregory James of the Sacramento Police Department drove up to the house with prior knowledge that Newrider could potentially be at this location. He recalled that he “called out to the subjects because it was dark and I couldn’t see all the way back there to actually identify the three subjects.”

After calling out “Doug” outside of the house, the defendant came out and was searched by the police.

Officer James claims, “I located his wallet on his person. Newrider had a large amount of cash that I believe was upwards of $1,200.” James detailed that the defendant had large amounts of cash in multiple denominations such as four $100 bills and more than 40 $20 bills.

Additionally, the officer testified to seeing suspicious plastic baggies on one of the two couches in the open garage of the house, adding, “There were two bindles of a white crystalline substance that was identified as methamphetamine, and two bindles of a black tar subject identified as heroin.”

James stated that on Newrider’s cell phone, “the Facebook account was logged into Douglas Newrider. There were several pictures in the photo album of the defendant. We actually located several text messages detailing people seeking to buy narcotics from Mr. Newrider.”

He added that when the defendant was detained and in jail, he requested “some contact phone number out of the cell phone we had located. Meaning that he had intimate knowledge of the phone and it was most likely his.”

Deputy District Attorney Celeena Wall inquired about the general opinion that the officer had on Newrider’s possession of heroin and meth and if he believed that the defendant had intention to sell.

James responded, “The totality of the circumstances [would find the defendant guilty]. The text messages, the amount of narcotics that were there, and Newrider’s prior history. I also know that those two narcotics are commonly sold together—just about everything amounted to it [being a sale].”

Defense attorney Arturo Reyes, Jr., followed with the cross-examination of Officer James about the specific details of James’ arrest. Reyes asked the officer if he was basing his opinion, that the drugs were possessed for the purpose of selling, on the amount.

The officer disagreed that his opinion was based solely on amount but was, again, based on the totality of the circumstances.

He added “the weight of the narcotics, the separate packaging, the amount of currency, and the text messages in his cell phone” were what made his opinion of the arrest, he said.

Judge Helena R. Gweon said, “I believe there is very strong circumstantial evidence that the drugs belonged to Newrider and there is strong evidence that it was possessed for sale based on the totality of the circumstances.”

A new court date was set for Aug. 13 for potential resolution and trial setting.

About The Author

Zoey Hou is a bay area native pursuing English and International Relations at UC Davis. She strongly advocates for criminal justice transparency and institutional change.

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