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Q-C Man's Drug Conviction Overturned

Herb Fellow

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A Davenport man with a lengthy criminal record will have a drug conviction removed after the Iowa Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday there was not enough evidence to convict him.

Ravin Miller, 24, was charged and convicted of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.

"Miller's fingerprints were not found on the drugs inside of the apartment or on the bag of drugs outside the apartment. Although $735 ... was found on Miller, an officer admitted that cash alone is not indicative of drug-dealing," the court said.

A dissenting opinion, however, said the evidence as a whole was enough to convict Miller of the crime.

According to court documents:

Davenport police executed a search warrant on the downstairs half of a duplex. Immediately before the search team arrived, two men came out of the duplex and drove away.

They were stopped, and arrested. As they were being arrested, Miller and a fourth man left the duplex and walked toward the house next door. They were arrested two blocks away. Miller had the cash and keys to the downstairs duplex in his possession.

Officers later followed the path the men took. They found a bag with marijuana, divided into four separate baggies.

They also found the duplex was filled with marijuana smoke. They discovered a partially smoked marijuana blunt in an ashtray, two vacuum-sealed bags with "large quantities" of compressed marijuana, a digital scale, plastic bags and clothing with "R Miller" written on the inside.

"There was not substantial evidence to establish that either the apartment in which the marijuana was found or the outside location where the bag of marijuana was found were exclusively accessible to Miller," the court ruled. "Although Miller had keys to the apartment, so did Kenneth Phillips. While his jeans were found in the apartment, Miller was not the person who rented the apartment, he was not seen by the police in the apartment, and the search warrant application tied Phillips, not Miller, to the apartment. Outside the duplex, officers admitted there were many footprints along the well-trodden route Miller followed.

"Because Miller did not have exclusive access to the apartment or the outside area where the drugs were found, the state was not entitled to an inference that Miller had knowledge of the marijuana and the ability to maintain control over it."

Robbery conviction upheld

The robbery conviction of a Davenport man was upheld Wednesday by the Iowa Court of Appeals.

Ceneca Johnson was first convicted of first-degree robbery. That conviction was overturned because of faulty instructions to the jury. He was then convicted of second-degree robbery for a November 2004 incident at Metrobank in Davenport.

Johnson, who represented himself during trial, appealed the

conviction, saying that the court should have suppressed evidence

and improperly limited the involvement of the lawyer who stood by

during trial.

Johnson was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for second-degree robbery. He faced up to 25 years for first-degree robbery.

Source: Quad-City Times
Copyright: 2007 Quad-City Times
Contact: (563) 383-2336 or amcglynn@qctimes.com
Website: Q-C man's drug conviction overturned / QCTimes.com
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