Jury Finds Watson Guilty Of Marijuana Delivery
Jahna Jo Watson, 20, of P.O. Box 131, Hundred, was found guilty Friday of two felony counts of delivery of marijuana, a Schedule I controlled substance, in Wetzel County. A court date and time of April 5, 10 a.m., has been set for post trial motions and sentencing. Post trial motions are due April 2.
Attorney George Stanton asked that his client remain on home incarceration prior to sentencing. On June 29, 2012, Watson had pleaded guilty to one felony offense of nighttime burglary. For this, she was sentenced to one to five years in the West Virginia Penitentiary for Women. However, the execution of this sentence was suspended and, instead, Watson was given two years of probation, with the first year to be served on home confinement.
At approximately 10:16 a.m., the jury had been seated and the court was preparing for opening remarks from the prosecution.
During his opening remarks, Prosecuting Attorney Timothy mentioned each of his three witnesses: Sergeant J.E. Shriver of the Hundred State Police Detachment; Carrie Ozalis from the West Virginia State Police Forensic Lab in Charleston, and Linda Dean, a cooperating individual used in a controlled buy conducted by Shriver.
Prosecutor Haught stated that the crime occurred in Littleton at a residence where Watson was residing. He stated that Trooper Shriver would be able to testify to the location.
As to Ms. Ozalis, Haught stated that it is her job to test substances that are sent from the laboratory by the state police to confirm that they are, in fact, controlled substances. “The controlled substances issued in this case is marijuana,” Haught explained. “This case involves two counts of delivery of marijuana . . . The state has two prove two eighth-bags of marijuana were sold to a cooperating individual for $30 on June 6, 2011 and June 8, 2011.”
Haught added, “The forensic chemist will testify that the substances that Trooper Shriver took from the cooperating individual after the buy was made, were in fact marijuana. And Trooper Shriver will also testify that based on his years of experience with drug buys, that the substance appeared to him to be marijuana, so we are going to have testimony from two people in law enforcement as to what happened.” Haught further stated that testimony would be given from Dean, who made the buys.
Haught explained that Dean has a felony conviction from 2005, but she was cooperating with the state of West Virginia in this drug investigation. “She made the buys because her boyfriend was caught with a couple of prescription pills without a prescription. Trooper Shriver made the offer that they would not prosecute if she cooperated in another investigation.”
Haught added, “This is the only way that you can get a drug dealer. How else are you going to get a buy?” He further explained, “You will hear testimony from Trooper Shriver . . . People in Wetzel who use drugs, don’t sell drugs to people they don’t know. They sell drugs to people who are known users. They sell drugs to people who are deeply embedded in drug culture.”
“The school teacher . . . the preacher from the church . . . They can’t go down and buy drugs from Jahna Watson. That’s something that is suspicious to her. So there’s nothing improper with law enforcement using people to act as a cooperating individual. It’s something that is done all the time, and that’s how you prosecute a drug case.”
Haught explained to the jurors that they would be able to hear a short tape of the controlled buy; furthermore, Sergeant Shriver is in an unmarked car, driving by on one of the buys. Haught explained, “There are two buys of marijuana; it’s a controlled substance. You aren’t allowed to possess it. It’s illegal to possess it. It’s illegal to transfer it. It’s not a complicated case; it’s a fairly routine case.”
Haught then explained that Trooper Shriver would testify that most drug cases involve the use of a cooperating individual, “and what we call a controlled buy.” Haught stated that there is a visual monitoring or electronic monitoring of the buy, the cooperating individual is debriefed, and then they obtain the drugs, which are afterwards sent to a lab and analyzed.
Haught said that he would expect the defense to assault the character of Dean. “I’m telling you from the get-go, she has a prior drug conviction. She was cooperating for the reason that I stated. We are not trying to hide anything or trying to cover anything up. That’s the way it’s done. This is the way we capture a drug dealer. The evidence will show she was the one that made a drug deal, beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Haught continued, “One thing I always instruct . . . it’s reasonable doubt. It’s such doubt that will cause a juror, a reasonable person, to hesitate . . . All the state of West virginia is asking, is that you sit and fairly and impartially hear the evidence and then you make the ruling according to the law . . . Based on the evidence in the law, the state will be asking that you find the verdict of guilt on both counts.”
Defense Attorney George Stanton opened by telling jurors that they would not be surprised that he disagreed with “a good bit of what Mr. Haught says.”
“It’s not my habit to say a lot in the opening statement. There’s a reason for that, because as the judge pointed out, as Mr. Haught says, the burden of proof is on the state of West Virginia . . . And what you need to know, nothing in what he just said is evidence . . . Nothing, nothing the lawyers say is evidence.” Stanton explained that the evidence was going to come from the witness stand.” Stanton then explained the process of the trial, informing the jury that they would hear from both himself, as well as Prosecutor Haught, again. “Mr. Haught, having the burden of proof . . . he’ll have the last word. You hear from witnesses. You’ll hear from the court. You’ll hear from us one last time.”
Stanton continued, “I feel it’s important for you to know that much of what Mr. Haught has said in his theory of the case is incorrect. Why I say that . . . is that he has furnished me with discovery. I’ve listened to this so-called audio tape of a controlled buy or two. He’s shown me of what happened.”
“He’s not lying to you; he’s an honorable man. The way he sees this case, is simply incorrect. The things he told you are not going to have to come to pass. Although I don’t have a burden, after the state closes it’s case, you will definitely see a huge amount of reasonable doubt.”
The first witness called to the stand was Sergeant J.E. Shriver of the West Virginia State Police, Hundred Detachment. When questioned, Shriver explained that he is the only sergeant at the detachment. He said he received his training at the WV State Police Academy and has had additional training, a couple times each year. Shriver said he has been trained at the academy in making controlled drug buys, and he has had subsequent training in that.
Shriver added that he has been with undercover units who have trained him on how they do their buys, and he has been trained on how to identify drugs as well. He has experience handling marijuana and has seen marijuana, as a state policeman, hundreds of times. Other than the case at hand, he has conducted controlled buys of marijuana approximately 50-100 times.
Shriver said he is familiar with the types of crimes being committed in the Hundred/Littleton area and said he initiated the investigation concerning Watson because he had knowledge of drug activity in the area. “We will target specific people in order to buy drugs off of them.” Shriver further explained that he obtained information through informants and through word of mouth, people calling in. He said law enforcement had knowledge of the trailer Watson was staying in and knowledge that she was selling marijuana out of that residence.
Shriver said he came into contact with Dean, the CI (cooperating individual) in the case, because she came to him. “There had been incidents involving someone she was close to. I initiated a traffic stop where they had prescription pills on them. West Virginia state law says that pills have to be in a prescription pill bottle. I took the pills back, put them into evidence, and gave him a few days to bring the prescription back or the bottle back. (Linda Dean) said she would be willing to work with the state police if we wouldn’t do any charges.” Shriver explained the individual involved in the traffic stop was Fornie Dean, the husband of Linda Dean. When asked, he stated he did not know what the pills were, and when asked if the pills were in a quantity he would’ve charged as a felony, Shriver stated he would’ve written a report and sent it to the prosecutor’s office. “It was just a handful,” he stated.
“Did she (Dean) agree to cooperate with you regarding just Jahna Watson or other individuals as well?” Haught asked.
“Other individuals as well,” Shriver noted.
When asked what he did after meeting with Dean, Shriver stated he gave Dean a briefing on what he would need. He said that after departing, Dean met with him at the Hundred Detachment. “She told me who she could purchase drugs from. We went over the Cooperating Individual agreement. The date was set for her to purchase marijuana.” Shriver explained that the CI agreement is part of his standard. The agreement, dated June 6, 2011, was then marked as state’s exhibit #1. The Consensual Monitoring form, used to identify the person or the target in the case, was marked as the state’s exhibit #2. At this time it was also noted that Linda Dean also goes by the name “Pooh,” whereas Watson goes by the name “Goose.”
Prosecutor Haught then asked Sergeant Shriver about the use of cooperating individuals. Shriver explained that himself, as well as the employees at the West Virginia State Police Barracks, have never been able to buy drugs from others. “We live there. We went to school there. We’ve worked there for years. We use cooperating individuals . . .” Shriver explained that most of the cooperating individuals are “persons that are in somewhat of trouble, have been in trouble, and are looking to get out of trouble.” When asked what percentage of cases that cooperating individuals are used, Shriver answered, “all of them.” He said a cooperating police officer is never used, because, “They won’t sell to them because they don’t know them.”
Sergeant Shriver explained that Linda Dean has a felony conviction that has to do with marijuana, and lives within a mile of Watson. At the time, Dean explained it would be $30 for a small baggy of marijuana. “She was provided with $30 of United State’s currency, a $20 bill and a $10 bill . . . We do a pat-down search to see if there are any controlled substances or extra money on them. In this case, I have them pull their pants pockets inside out, especially being a female.” Shriver explained that a body recorder was then placed on Dean. “This is done at an undisclosed location close to the location of the buy . . . I follow at somewhat of a distance. They make the purchase.”
Shriver explained that he followed this procedure on both June 6 and June 8 of 2011. He stated that on June 6, he observed the target sitting outside and then getting up and walking to the driver’s side of the vehicle. He said he did not actually see the transaction but saw Watson at the vehicle. Shriver stated that the transaction took less than 10 minutes.
Although he did not conduct any field tests on the marijuana obtained during the controlled buy, he said he took the marijuana back to the Hundred detachment and secured it into evidence. “It’s under lock and key, and it is secured in there until it has to be sent to the crime lab in Charleston for further analysis.”
State’s exhibits #3 and #4 were photocopies of the money used on June 6 and June 8, respectively.
Shriver also possessed the marijuana that was given to the confidential informant; this was marked as state’s exhibit #5. This marijuana had been sent to the crime lab in Charleston for analysis. Trooper Shriver said he sent the marijuana to Charleston by certified mail. The certified mail receipt, as well as a green card, was marked as state’s exhibit #6. “There’s a signature from workers at the state police crime lab that they received the certified mail,” Shriver noted.
“The date it was provided to me, it was secured in the Hundred evidence room. The only one that has a key to it is me.” Shriver explained that the marijuana is sealed, taped in, and initials are put throughout the whole entire package it is put in. “They examine it down at the lab that there’s nothing tampered with, and sometimes they hand deliver it if they are in the area, and they have to sign for it, to pick it up from the post office.” Shriver explained that the green card attached to the certified mail receipt shows that the package was delivered to the laboratory.
State’s exhibit number seven was the microcassette from June 6, 2011, the recording of the controlled buy. The court was then able to listen to the cassette.
Shriver explained that at the time the buy was going on, he drove by twice. He said he had driven past first and saw Watson outside. Upon driving back down the road, he saw her at the driver’s side of the car. Shriver confirmed that he is “100 percent sure it was Jahna Watson.”
Shriver testified that the next buy, conducted on June 8, he followed the same procedure as before, minus the cooperating individual agreement, which is only done the first time. Shriver stated that he met Dean at the undisclosed location, gave her the $30, placed the tape in her vehicle, already recording. Dean went to the target location, and Shriver followed. Shriver confirmed that she bought it at the same exact location as the prior incident. Shriver also confirmed that the only time after the buy that the tape left his custody was when his office was making a copy of it for the defense council. Shriver said he listened to the tape the day of the transaction and also the night prior to that day’s trial and that no changes were made, “as far as I can tell.”
Shriver also informed the court that once the tape is put onto the cooperating individual’s person, or in their vehicle, it cannot be altered anyway. “There’s a button, hold, and it cannot be turned on or off unless it is removed.”
State’s exhibit #9, the controlled buy from June 8, was then listened to by the court. State’s exhibit #10 included the certified mail receipt, as well as the green card, showing that the evidence was sent to the WV State Police Crime Lab in Charleston. State’s exhibit #11 was the marijuana. It was also noted that the marijuana in both instances was kept in the same baggy in which it was sent to the crime lab.
State exhibits #12 and #13 included forensic lab results signed by forensic chemist Carrie Ozalis for the marijuana submitted to the WV State Police Crime Lab.
When asked, Shriver stated he used Dean for other controlled buys and she had never provided him with any information that was false or inaccurate. He also testified that Dean had cooperated with him and did not provide him with any other false information that he could find. He said he had not had any other evidence that Watson had not delivered the marijuana, that he had never been contacted by anyone that indicated Watson was not the supplier, and he had no other information or reason to believe that the marijuana came from any other source other than Watson. He also answered that he had no reason to believe that Dean had set Watson up.
“If you did have any of that information, what would you have done?” Haught questioned.
“I would have contacted you and charged the cooperating individual. I would have ended the investigation at that point,” Shriver responded.
At this point, the state’s exhibits #1-13 were admitted, and Stanton was then given the opportunity to cross-examine the witness:
“My investigation and abilities and capabilities aren’t as good as yours, but (Dean) is a pretty serious drug addict. Are you aware of that?” Stanton asked.
“She’s known to be a user,” Shriver stated.
“My information, and maybe this wasn’t the case at the time, but this woman . . . Dean, doesn’t have a driver’s license,” Stanton stated.
“As far as I know, she does,” Shriver answered.
Stanton then question Shriver on the thoroughness of his search of Dean prior to the controlled buy. “There wasn’t a female present, so you didn’t feel around her breasts, correct?”, he asked. Stanton also noted that there was no mention of a search of Dean’s vehicle in Shriver’s report, even though Shriver stated he had searched Dean’s vehicle. Shriver stated that Stanton was correct, in regards to both questions.
“The way I understand it . . . Let’s deal with the first transaction of June 6, 2011. You reported at 8:51 p.m., the CI arrived at the suspect’s residence, and you observed the suspect walked to the vehicle . . . You were driving by slowly, correct? But you were moving. You didn’t actually see a drug transaction, but you saw where they met up, correct?” Stanton also argued that the second drug buy took place quickly and that Shriver actually saw no drug transaction.
Stanton also noted that Shriver was not present when Dean made the arrangements for the drug buy: “You weren’t actually present, correct?” Stanton asked.
“As far as arranged . . . she advised she could buy off of Jahna this week, so whether she talked to . . . I was not there for that.”
“She said, ‘I could get something done,’ but you weren’t in that planning stage, correct?” Stanton questioned.
“Mr. Stanton pointed out in his cross-examination that these transactions didn’t take very long, did they?” Haught asked during his re-direct. “In your experience, in doing drug buys, is that typical?”
“I want mine to be short,” Shriver responded. “Less than 10 minutes.”
“These transactions were out in the open, correct? So you wouldn’t want it to take a long time if you were involved in a drug transaction at (Route) 250, right?” Haught questioned. Haught also noted that Shriver would not have wanted to remain close to the scene of the drug buy, as Dean had supposedly pulled right off of the road.
“Her vehicle was on the white line, fairly close,” Shriver agreed.
Stanton then referenced the money used in the drug transaction, and how the money was not seized from Watson after the buy.
Next to take the stand was Ozalist, a forensic chemist from the WV State Police Crime Lab in Charleston. Ozalis stated she had been employed with the state police for 12 years. She stated she has been a section supervisor for approximately three years and, prior to this, she was a senior forensic chemist. Ozalis stated that she has observed various vegetation samples, various pills, powders, and liquid samples. She’s worked 11-and-a-half years of cases and is cross-trained in toxicology and blood alcohol work. Within her first six months of employment with the state police, Ozalis studied over 500 samples of marijuana. She generally now works 60 cases a month and testified to working “probably well over 10,000 cases since I’ve been employed with the state police . . . a third of those have had vegetation samples which are believed to be marijuana.”
Ozalis stated that three tests are usually performed to determine whether or not a sample is marijuana: a macroscopic, naked eye examination; a microscopic examination; and a chemical color test. She testified that state’s exhibits #12 and #13 were both forensic lab reports that she prepared since she had completed testing. She said both documents bore her signature and were original documents. Ozalis identified state’s exhibits #5 and #11 as being the actual evidence that she received from the Hundred State Police Detachment. Furthermore, Ozalis said she performed all three tests she previously referenced on the evidence and that the evidence was confirmed to be marijuana. Ozalis said both pieces of evidence were found to be marijuana. Prior to being sent back to the Hundred WV State Police Detachment, the samples were put back into their bags, heat sealed, and Ozalis initialed the heat seals.
“What kind of quantity are we talking about in both of these examples?” Stanton asked during cross-examination. Ozalis stated that exhibit #11, the marijuana from June 6, 2011, contained 2.75 grams of marijuana. State’s exhibit #5 contained 2.76 grams.
Haught questioned in response what this would mean in street terminology; Ozalis answered each bag would fall within the category of one eighth.
Linda Renee Dean was the final witness to take the stand in the trial. Dean correctly identified the defendant as Jahna Jo Watson and responded that she had the occasion to buy marijuana from the defendant while working with the state police.
Dean correctly stated that the dates of the transactions were June 6 and June 8 of 2011, and that she made the buys because of her husband, that he had been caught for something. Dean agreed that Prosecutor Haught had previously convicted Dean, as well as her husband Fornie Dean, of a drug charge.
Dean stated that she just knew Jahna Watson was selling marijuana and that she knew it before seeing Trooper Shriver.
“Did you bring up Jahna’s name or did Trooper Shriver?” Haught asked.
‘He mentioned the name first,” Dean responded.
“And you to;d him you could buy from her?” Haught asked.
“Yes sir,” Dean responded.
When asked to describe what happened that day, Dean stated, “I met with Mr. Shriver; he gave me $30, and I went and purchased an eighth of marijuana.”
“Who did you purchase it off of?” Haught asked.
“Off of Goose,” Dean stated.
Dean testified that the buys were taped, but she did not do anything that would alter or change the tape. Furthermore, she said Trooper Shriver was following her but pulled off of the road before she arrived at Watson’s. She said that during one of the instances, she did get out of the car, but she’s not sure if it was June 6 or June 8. She said the marijuana cost her $30 and she found out how much it was, because she had asked Jahna Watson when arranging the buy.
“You and I met very briefly today when I basically checked whether or not you were here for your testimony . . . what was it that I told you I expected you to do?” Haught asked.
“Tell the truth,” Dean responded.
“Are you telling the truth?” Haught asked.
“Yes sir,” Dean stated.
Dean also testified that she did not want to come to court today, that she basically came so she didn’t go to jail. Furthermore, she said she had received a subpoena to come to court.
During Stanton’s cross-examination, Dean answered that she did not have a driver’s license at this time and that her husband was driving during one of the buys. She said she did not know if the state police passed her when she was conducting the buy. She stated that they searched the inside of her car, as well as the trunk, and that the whole search, of her and her vehicle, took approximately 10 minutes.
During re-direct, Haught questioned Dean further on the lack of a driver’s license: “Now, if Trooper Shriver says you were the only driver . . . I want you to think hard about that. Do you remember if you were driving or not?”
“I drove once, and then my husband went with me the second time,” Dean responded. “I believe he drove the second time. I’m not for sure. They might’ve let me drive.”
“So if you drove,” Haught stated, “You were driving without a license. You were breaking the law. Did he know you didn’t have a driver’s license?”
“That would have nothing to do as to whether or not Jahna Watson sold you marijuana. . . . You are not on trial today,” Haught stated, in which Dean agreed.
“So if Trooper Shriver said you drove by yourself on both instances, what do you think is right? Your recollection or his?” Haught questioned.
“His,” Dean agreed.
“The fact that you drove . . . Does that change any of your testimony with respect to who sold you the marijuana?”
“No,” Dean stated.
“If justice is done today, it’s going to be done because of you,” Haught told the jury during closing remarks. “If justice fails today, it’s because of you . . . You’ve heard the evidence, and you need to make a decision based on that evidence. That’s what the judge has instructed you to do. The evidence consists of three witnesses. That’s the only evidence presented today . . . The court has instructed you not to speculate, but make the decision based on the evidence that is before you.”
“There’s no evidence to the contrary that defendant Jana Jo Watson was this person. Trooper Shriver said he saw her come to the vehicle, saw her outside; she was the person he saw at the vehicle. (Dean) identified her as the person who sold her the marijuana. This is not a case about mistaken identity.”
Haught noted, “Those tapes are very difficult to hear. A lot of times in a drug transaction that is what you hear . . . the person’s pants rustling; you hear the motor. You hear the radio. You hear a very short transaction. These transactions don’t take very long. People know what they are coming to get . . . I heard an eighth or a quarter mentioned on a tape . . . You can take them in there and listen to the tapes.”
Furthermore, “For an added precaution, we sent (marijuana) down to the laboratory, to a forensic chemist who has tested thousands of samples of marijuana..”
Haught speculated that the defense would argue that Linda Dean is a bad person . . . “(She’s) a bad person because she has a felony conviction for delivery . . . She was working this off for Fornie Dean. They’ll say a deal was made and the state police should not be making deals . . .”
“How do you catch a drug dealer then? If we want to win the war on drugs, how will we do it? If we can’t turn to people to make purchases so we can get drugs off the streets . . . how are we going to do it?
Haught argued that controlled buys using someone previously involved in the drug culture is common. “It’s routine. It’s routine because the minister at the church or the teacher at the school or the policeman at the state police barracks can’t do that, because everyone knows everybody around there,” said Haught. “That’s one of the problems. Sometimes in a rural community, it’s hard to get the drugs off the street.”
“What else? There’s going to be an argument that (Dean) planted those drugs. You can listen to the discussion about the eighth bag. These are two eighth bags that are being purchased. There was a discussion about that.”
Haught continued, “The defense will bring up that she said he didn’t have a driver’s license. That’s not the issue. She isn’t on trial for driving without a license. Did you receive any instruction from the judge about the effect of her driving without a license? No. You did not. She’s not on trial for that . . . I suspect she thought she was going to get into trouble for driving with out a license, and I suspect Trooper Shriver didn’t know.”
Furthermore, he said, “Don’t be naive when it comes to drugs. As you consider the evidence, please don’t be naive about what it takes to get a drug dealer. Drug trafficking goes on all the time. It goes on all the time. Not just in our communities, but in communities across the country.”
“To get drugs off the street . . . it’s a difficult and daunting task. Who’s the person who gets put on trial? Not the defendant. It’s the cooperating individual. We start shifting blame. We blame the police. We want to blame the confidential informant. We want to shift blame and not put it where it belongs. It belongs on the person selling the drugs. Why do we do that? I’ll tell you why. Some people do it, because they are morally weak. They are moral cowards. They are looking for the easy way out. It’s easy to issue an acquittal and walk out of here. But it’s hard to do the right thing. When the evidence demonstrates that a person is guilty, it’s hard to find somebody guilty.”
“In life there are a lot of hard things that we don’t like, but we have to do them, because it’s the right thing to do. What I’m asking you to do, is to go into that jury room and do what you believe is the right thing to do . . . The evidence shows beyond a reasonable doubt . . . I thank you for your time. I thank you for your patience, and again, the proper verdict in this case is a verdict of guilt.”
Defense Attorney Stanton then gave his closing arguments: “. . . I think that Mr. Haught is a great guy. I think he’s spent an inordinate amount of time in rebutting what he thinks I’m going to try to prove here. As you know, it’s not my burden . . . She gets out of them by turning people into the police. As does her husband. These people obviously have a history of drug problems.”
“What (Dean) said is that her husband would be a three-time loser if she didn’t do something. So what I’d say what she did, is she set up Ms. Watson. Here’s how it happened: She meets up with the sergeant and says that she can nail somebody who sells drugs . . .You heard absolutely zero evidence of my client as a drug dealer. What you heard, was Ms. Dean went to Shriver when she was afraid her husband would go to jail. According to Shriver’s testimony, she apparently, in his mind, set something up with Jahna Watson . . . So he wires her up and he searches her to make sure she doesn’t have any marijuana. We are talking about two grams of marijuana. A very tiny, tiny amount of marijuana. By his own admission, the sergeant did not conduct a thorough search of Ms. Dean. There was not a female present. He didn’t search her bra; he didn’t search her underwear. He did not do a body search whatsoever . . . He prepared thorough reports in this matter, 20 pages of each report, with attachments. In none of those 20 pages is there an indication that he searched the vehicle. I found that curious. If it were me, and I were prosecuting a case, or if I was a police officer, the single most important thing I would’ve put, was I searched the vehicle. It was not mentioned in the report.”
“What he said, was he looked in the vehicle. ‘I looked in the trunk and glove box.’ You know as well as I that there are several places in a car to hide two lousy grams of marijuana . . . Here’s something more curious: They didn’t know Fornie Dean was in the car. He was driving. He was in the car. He’s six foot and 200 some pounds. Is it possible they missed a couple of grams of marijuana?”
“She said he followed her for a while, but she says she doesn’t know whether he drove by or not . . . Did you hear a drug transaction on that tape? I listened to it eight or nine times, but feel free to listen to that . . . I know that you all did not hear a drug transaction. You had question marks above and over your heads. Listen to it over again . . . I heard that Linda Dean pulls up, and in the second one, she pulls up and yells ‘Goose! Goose!’ Goose comes up and says, ‘What do you want?’ Then they talk about her foot and how she got a spider bite . . . and how she can’t walk, and it’s all swollen. Then they have a chitchat, and they talk about drugs and such. Linda Dean says something about ‘Can you get me any of that good stuff?’ The other person says ‘No.’ It’s not a drug transaction. I don’t know if any of this is raising reasonable doubt in your mind, but keep in mind, even though it’s probably getting a bit nauseating, the burden of proof is on the state. Not on Jahna. Not myself. The state has a burden of proof that something went down. I’m going to tell you what the problems are: The state used a couple of serious drug addicts to use someone that is not. There’s not useful purpose served by using serious drug users. It’s not a way to win the war on drugs. The car was not searched. Fornie Dean was not searched and he was in the car. (Linda Dean) was not thoroughly searched. There were a million places that they could’ve stashed marijuana that day.”
“She drove up to Jahna’s house. They had a conversation about her foot. They have pictures of marked money, but there’s not marked money.”
“I don’t like to listen to defense lawyers nitpick, but I think there are serious problems in the prosecution of this case. There would’ve been a meaningful audio or videotape. You should not have to use awful people in the prosecution of your case.
“I’m going to tell you what I really like . . . If the jury views the evidence as reasonably permitting . . . either of two conclusions: one of innocence or one of guilt. If you say you don’t like guilt, if you know the state wasn’t there, you must adopt the conclusion of innocence. That would not be an act of cowardice.”
“I think Mr. Stanton is elevating this to a level of perfection that’s not necessary,” Prosecutor Haught said during the last word. “There are a lot of things you can conclude without having to look at every slight thing being perfect. If you want a level of perfection, you’ll never convict anybody, because I’m not sure any case is ever perfect. That’s why it is not a guilt beyond all possible doubt. It’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Beyond a reasonable doubt is the standard.”
“The other thing the judge said in his directions was that you are not free to speculate. That’s what Mr. Stanton is doing. He’s speculating in what he’s saying. Well it could’ve been this. It could’ve been that. Do you think Jeff Shriver would lie? Do you think he was lying when he said she was by herself? Or do you think Ms. Dean was mistaken about that, or was trying to cover for the fact that she didn’t have a driver’s license, which is immaterial for what we are here for today. If any of you seized on that, or if he did, it’s really immaterial.”
“It’s a red herring. We want you to watch the red herring to divert from things. The other thing, since Mr. Stanton speculated a little bit, I’m going to indulge myself for a minute here. By the same vein, Linda Dean . . . this wasn’t the only person. Trooper testified that she was involved in making buys on other cases. He said he found her to be reliable. She had never provided him with any false information. But maybe she got confused, okay? If you want to talk about possibilities, we could talk about endless speculation. But what we should really talk about is the evidence in front of you. I don’t want to call anyone moral cowards either, but one of the problems, why we have a lot of problems in our society . . .we have a lot of people who won’t take responsibility for their actions. We have a lot of people who don’t have moral courage. I say it, for this reason. You have to hate it. You have to use it. Or our system of justice does not work without it.”
Haught then referenced one of his favorite quotes from Edmund Burke, “‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing.’ To just step back and find an easy way out. And walk away. The evidence in this case is what it is.”
“Jeff Shriver . . . You believe he’s a liar. That he didn’t search the vehicle. I submit to you again, that’s another red herring. It’s another thing to divert your attention from what this defendant did. It boils down to what I hear so many times. Blame it on the police. Blame it on the witness. Blame it on the victim. It goes back to that responsibility thing. It’s never the defendant’s responsibility.
“The evidence as presented, viewed by reasonable people . . . The evidence shows she was guilty.”
The jury appeared to have agreed with Haught, as they voted unanimously that Watson was guilty on both counts of felony delivery of marijuana.
Stanton then brought up the question as to whether or not Watson could serve her time, prior to sentencing, on home confinement. “She’s been on home confinement in Littleton, because of burglary. That’s been going well. Mr. Lantz seems to be liberal with her.”
Haught argued that Watson might act out prior to sentencing, seeing as she is facing two to 10 years in prison for her marijuana delivery felonies. Haught stated that another possibility is the filing of a recidivist, due to her prior convictions dealing with burglary. In June 2012 Watson pleaded guilty to burglary, one of three charges levied by the January 2012 grand jury. The other charges were one count each of burglary and battery. Haught said he did not want Watson to seek retaliation against Dean.
Hummel agreed that Watson could serve her time prior to sentencing on home confinement, but, he sentenced her to jail time over the weekend to “Cool her jets.” Watson was set to be released from jail on Monday, 2 p.m.