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IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF MONTANA
STATE OF MONTANA,
Plaintiff and Appellant,
DAVID GERARD KELMAN ,
Defendant and Respondent.
District Court of the First Judicial District,
In and for the County of Lewis and Clark
Honorable Gordon Bennett, Judge presiding.
Counsel of Record:
Hon. Mike Greely, Attorney General, Helena, Montana
Charles Graveley, County Attorney, Helena, Montana
Steve Garrison argued, Deputy County Attorney, Helena,
Harrison, Loendorf and Poston, Helena, Montana
John Poston argued, Helena, Montana
Submitted: May 14, 1982
Decided: August 19, 1982
AUG 1 d 1982
Mr. Chief Justice Frank I. Haswell delivered the Opinion of
This is an appeal by the State from the District Court's
dismissal of an information against defendant.
During a patdown search in the course of booking defendant
for another offense, a Lewis and Clark County jailer seized
from defendant a "cocaine spoon" and a baggie of what appeared
to the jailer to be hashish.
The substance weighed approximately
Thereafter, a direct information was filed charging
defendant with criminal possession of dangerous drugs, a
felony, in violation of section 45-9-102(1), MCA.
constituting the offense were stated in the information as
.that on or about the 4th day of July,
1981, at the County of Lewis and Clark,
State of Montana, the above-named defendant
committed the offense of CRIMINAL POSSESSION
OF DANGEROUS DRUGS, a felony, in that he did
have under his control and possession certain
narcotic drugs as defined in the Montana
Dangerous Drug Act, to-wit: hashish (more
than 1 gram);.
Arraignment was continued until the results of laboratory
tests were received.
Defendant subsequently entered a plea
of "not guilty" and moved to dismiss the information "on the
grounds that it [was] defective on its face in that it
purport[ed] to charge a crime of possession of the dangerous
drug 'hashish,' said drug not being a controlled substance
under the Dangerous Drug Act."
The laboratory analysis of the confiscated drug was
brought to the attention of the District Court by the following statement in the State's brief in response to defendant's
motion to dismiss:
"Microscopic examination of the sample, Lab #
OQ33-071781, was positive for marihuana in the
form of hashish. Analysis of this material
by this layer chromatography was also positive
for the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol, the
controlled substance in marihuana, and other
cannabinoids which are found in marihuana."
Without admitting its authenticity or waiving any objection
thereto, defendant's reply brief acknowledged the contents
of the lab report.
After extensive briefing but without an evidentiary
hearing, the District Court dismissed the information.
Three questions, framed and answered by the District
Court in its decision, are raised on appeal:
(1) Is hashish a controlled substance under the Montana
Dangerous Drug Act?
(2) Is possession of more than one and less than sixty
grams of hashish punishable as a felony offense?
Does an information charging possession of hashish,
without mention of marijuana, state a crime?
Issues one and two are provocative but their resolution
is not critical to disposition of this case.
controls the outcome of the appeal.
Defendant was charged with violating section 45-9102(1), MCA, because he allegedly had more than one gram of
hashish in his possession.
Criminal possession of dangerous
drugs is committed if a person possesses any dangerous drug
as defined in section 50-32-101, MCA.
Subsection six of
that statute defines "dangerous drug" as "a drug, substance,
or immediate precursor in Schedules I through V.
Hashish is not defined or listed under any of the prescribed
Without more, we do not find the facts as alleged
sufficient to state a crime under Montana law.
That "the particular acts constituting [a] crime [be
stated], is more than a technicality; it is fundamental, and
a substantial variance between the crime charged and the
facts stated, or the omission of either, is fatal."
C.J.S. Indictments and Informations, Slll at 992.
The State contends that such an oversight is of no
consequence; its position is based upon two assertions both
First the State argues that hashish, being "a material,
compound, mixture, or preparation which contains any quantity
. .", is
Schedule I drug the possession of which is proscribed.
Sections 45-9-102(1), 50-32-222(3), MCA.
While the argument
is plausible and may eventually raise a question of proof,
it does not obscure the defect in the information.
The information does not allege possession of marijuana
or tetrahydrocannabinols in the form of hashish; it merely
alleges possession of hashish, pure and simple.
omission is fatal.
See, e.g., State v. Bishop (1974), 215
Kan. 481, 524 P.2d 712.
This defect cannot be cured by
reference to an affidavit filed in support of the information, cf. State v. Dunn (1970), 155 Mont. 319, 472 P.2d 288;
nor will the contents of an untimely lab report suffice to
provide the missing link between the statutory offense
charged and the facts alleged in the information.
an allegation equating possession of hashish to possession
of either marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinols, the information
simply does not charge a criminal offense.
The second argument proffered by the State relates to
the fact that Montana law specifically provides a different
penalty for possession of hashish.
The State contends that
because the legislature made a reference to hashish in its
penalty provisions, possession of hashish is adequately
defined as a crime under Montana law.
The State is wrong.
The necessary elements of a
statutory offense cannot be supplied by the penalty section
of a statute.
State v. Loudermilk (1976), 221 Kan. 157, 557
P.2d 1229, 1232, as cited by this Court in State v. Nelson
(1978), 178 Mont. 280, 583 P.2d 435.
MCA, deals with sentencing, not definition of a separate
Accord, State ex rel. McKenzie v. District Court
(1974), 165 Mont. 54, 64, 525 P.2d 1211, 1217.
will not indulge in inferences to create a crime that is
neither adequately defined by law or charged by information.
State v. Salina (1944), 116 Mont. 478, 482, 154 P.2d 484, 486.
Accordingly, we affirm.
W e Con
Mr. Justice Fred J. Weber dissents:
I respectfully dissent from the foregoing opinion of
The information in pertinent part stated:
". .the above-named Defendant committed the
offense of CRIMINAL POSSESSION OF DANGEROUS
DRUGS - a felony as specified in Section 459-102(I), MCA.
"The facts constituting the offense are: that
on or about the 4th day of July, 1981, at the
County of Lewis and Clark, State of Montana,
the above-named defendant committed the offense
of CRIMINAL POSSESSION OF DANGEROUS DRUGS, a
felony, in that he did have under his control
and possession certain narcotic drugs as defined
in the Montana Dangerous Drug Act, to-wit:
hashish (more than 1 gram); contrary to the
form, force and effect of the statute in such
case made and provided and against the peace
and dignity of the State of Montana."
In substance the majority opinion holds that because the
information does not allege possession of marijuana or
tetrahydrocannabinols in the form of hashish, and instead
alleges possession of hashish, the information is defective
and the omission'is fatal.
This is a more technical standard
of criminal pleading than we have required in other cases.
In State of Montana v. Emil Longneck (1981),
, 640 P.2d 436, 438, 38 St.Rep. 2160, 2162, the Court
. .The test to be applied in judging the
sufficiency of an information is whether a
person of common understanding would know
what is intended to be charged. State v.
Kirkland (1979), Mont., 602 P.2d 586, 590,
36 St.Rep. 1963, 1966. 'The general rule
is that when the facts, acts and circumstances
are set forth with sufficient certainty to
constitute an offense, it is not a fatal defect that the complaint gives the offense an
erroneous name.' State v. Schnell (1939),
107 Mont. 579, 88 P.2d 19, 22. . ."
The Court pointed out that the information in Longneck
charged him with the crime of deliberate homicide.
that charge, Longneck also could have been convicted of the
lesser included offense of aggravated assault.
Court pointed out that the proof showed two different assaults,
and the assault of which he was convicted. was not the assault
which was included in the deliberate homicide.
words, Longneck was found to have assaulted the deceased but
was not found to have been the assailant in the fatal assault.
The Court further stated:
"Ideally, the information should have named,
in addition to the deliberate homicide charge,
a separate count of aggravated assault to
cover the nonfatal, first assault; or, it
should have charged the defendant with only
the nonfatal, first assault. Despite this
inaccuracy in naming the offense, the facts
detailed in the information and in the motion
for leave to file the information served to
inform the defendant of what was intended to
be charged and against what he was required
to defend. He could not have been surprised
or misled at trial." 640 P.2d at 439, 38
St.Rep. at 2163.
In the present case, the District Court, in its opinion,
stated as follows:
"Marijuana is defined in the Montana code as
'all plant material from the genus cannabis
containing tetraohydrocannabinol [sic] (THC)
or seeds of the genus capable of germination.'
50-32-lOl(16). According to Black's Law Dictionary (5th ed. West, 1979), hashish is a
'drug which is formed of resin scraped from
the flowering top of the cannabis plant, as
distinguished from marijuana which consists
of the chopped leaves and stems of the cannabis plant.' Tetrahydrocannibinol [sic] (THC)
is the principal psychoactive ingredient in
cannabis drugs. (Jones, Hardin and Helen,
Sensual Drugs, Cambridge University Press,
1977.) THC and marijuana are both listed
in Schedule I. THC is a constituent of hashish, and hashish and marijuana are both derived from the cannabis plant. In this way,
hashish is defined as a dangerous drug, the
possession of which is made criminal under
Applying the rationale of Longneck to the present case,
I would hold that while ideally, the information should have
charged that the defendant did have under his control and
possession marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinols in the form of
hashish, the facts detailed in the information are sufficient
to inform the defendant of the crime with which he was
charged and against which he was require? to defend.
a person of common understanding would readily comprehend a
charge of the possession of hashish.
The addition of the
words marijuana in the form of hashish, or tetrahydrocannabinols
in the form of hashish, would add very little, if anything,
to the knowledge of the charge for a person of common understanding.
The term "hashish" is widely known and understood in our
I do not see how the defendant can seriously
contend that he would have gained essential information for
understanding the charge had it stated that the defendant
was charged with tetrahydrocannabinols in the form of hashish.
I do not see how the defendant could claim that the form of
the information could have resulted in the surprise or
misleading of the defendant at trial.
I would reverse the District Court.