CRIMINAL LAW – Double jeopardy, meth conviction: Timothy Shemwell v. Commonwealth of Kentucky (SC 8/27/2009)

Timothy Shemwell v. Commonwealth of Kentucky
2008-SC-000102-TG August 27, 2009
Opinion by Justice Venters. All sitting; all concur.

Shemwell was convicted on various charges arising out of a methamphetamine operation discovered at his residence. On appeal, he argued that convicting him of both manufacturing and possession violated the constitutional prohibition on double jeopardy. The Supreme Court affirmed the conviction, holding that each offense required proof of a fact that the other did not. Further the Court concluded that the jury instructions for possession of methamphetamine clearly stated it was based on different methamphetamine than that which Shemwell manufactured. Therefore no double jeopardy violation occurred. The Court also held that Shemwell waived any objection to a detective’s statement that Shemwell had been a drug suspect for years since the statement was directly responsive to a question from Shemwell’s counsel. Next, the Court ruled that the prosecution’s irrelevant reference to a sawed-off shotgun found at Shemwell’s residence was harmless error. Lastly, the Court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to grant a mistrial because of the prosecution’s questioning of his co-defendant. Shemwell had argued that questioning the co-defendant about her knowledge of drugs and prior drug use was prejudicial in that it caused the jury to find him guilty by association.

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