Three judges on the Washington Court of Appeals just overturned a conviction against an accused drug dealer by using woke standards for the term “Mexican ounce,” which they’re misconstruing.
Jesus Ibarra-Erives was arrested in the apartment he was living in after officers found a backpack with seven one-ounce “bindles” of methamphetamine and five bindles of heroin with a street value of $8,000. Police also found a digital scale and a box of plastic sandwich bags.
The amount of heroin was slightly less than an ounce — the typical amount of drugs that’s carried with the intent to deliver. To help establish that intent, a detective testified that a “Mexican ounce” is considered 25 grams on the streets. In his closing remarks, prosecutor Adam Sturdivant used the term “Mexican ounce” twice in the context of establishing the intent to deliver.
Though there were no objections at the time of the case. Still, using the term “Mexican ounce” was enough to overturn the conviction. This is how the Left dismantles the criminal justice system. The state is less safe as a result.
During the appeal, Washington Appellate Project attorney Nancy Collins hardly mentioned the alleged prejudicial use of the term “Mexican ounce.” While it was a part of the appeal, she primarily focused on the claim that there was insufficient evidence to suggest the drugs belonged to Ibarra-Erives.
When the judges questioned the state, all they wanted to focus on was the “Mexican ounce.”
“Could an objective observer who was aware of the history of using race to appeal to bias conclude that the term was used to suggest that it is more likely that heroin packed to a Mexican ounce was done so by a person who is apparently Latinx and speaks Spanish?” Judge Bill Bowman, a Jay Inslee appointee, asked at the appeal.
It appears to have been a rhetorical question.
In an 11-page opinion, Bowman, along with judges Janet Chung and Stephen Dwyer, concluded there was enough evidence for the jury to conclude Ibarra-Erives was in possession of drugs. But they reversed his conviction over the use of the term “Mexican ounce.”
“Testimony that heroin is packaged in an amount commonly sold on the street is probative of an intent to sell the drugs. But the street term attributing that practice to a particular racial or ethnic group is not,” the judges wrote. “And when the defendant appears to be a member of that same racial or ethnic group, such comments improperly suggest that he is more likely to have packaged or possessed the drugs.”
The judges claim the use of “Mexican ounce” was “a suggestion that Ibarra Erives was more likely to have possessed drugs packed to a ‘Mexican ounce’ because he speaks Spanish and appears to be Latinx.”
But he had drugs packed to a “Mexican ounce,” according to police.
The judges’ use of the political label “Latinx” indicates they were looking for a reason to overturn the conviction. When you’re looking for reasons to prove your belief about the criminal justice system — that it’s biased against racial minorities — you can and will bend over backward to make your point. It’s called confirmation bias.
“Such a suggestion improperly undermines the presumption of innocence by urging the jury to rely on race-based suggestions rather than the evidence to connect Ibarra-Erives to the drugs in the backpack,” the judges claimed, even though the prosecutor made no such suggestion.
If you’re trying to establish the intent to sell, it makes sense to use widely-used street slang that makes the point. It’s a “Mexican ounce” even if a white, black, or Asian drug dealer is selling the product.
The ruling is laughably inadequate. But judges are forced to get political because of a Washington State Supreme Court ruling by its far-left justices.
The state supreme court ruled in State v. Zamora that judges, in race-based misconduct allegations, must determine if an objective observer who is “aware of the history of race and ethnic discrimination in the United States and aware of implicit, institutional, and unconscious biases, in addition to purposeful discrimination” could view the prosecutor’s comments to appeal to the jury’s prejudice, bias, or stereotypes.
Thanks to this decision, it’s very easy to claim race-based misconduct whenever a prosecutor mentions race. And it lets politically-motivated legal groups like Washington Appellate Project take advantage.
Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.