A woman in New Jersey had her 10-year prison sentence overturned after a judge determined that there wasn’t enough evidence to support claims that the 1.2 ounces of cocaine found on her were meant to be sold.
Deberel Jones, 38, was arrested in March of 2009 after authorities searched her home and discovered the small amount of cocaine, around $13,000 in cash, some digital scales, and plastic sandwich bags. At the time of the original trial, a police officer that was involved in the arrest and investigation testified for the prosecution as an expert and said that, in his expert opinion, the evidence was enough to determine that Jones had intent to distribute the drug.
Now, over four years later, in the middle of Jones serving her 10-year sentence, an appellate court decided that the officer who served as an expert in the trial should not have been able to do so because he was involved in the investigation itself.
“The problem here is that the Supreme Court established a framework for admission of such testimony...that was not followed,” wrote the court in the decision.
Despite reversing the charge of intent to distribute, the appeals judges still upheld Jones’s charge of cocaine possession. The case will now be turned over to a Superior Court that will handle the charges from here on out.