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Mistrial for man facing series of felony drug charges

A 54-year-old criminal defendant's case remains in limbo after a recent mistrial. The defendant was facing drug charges in connection with a May 2013 incident in Michigan, during which troopers pulled the man over for driving erratically. Officers say they discovered cocaine and pills in the man's vehicle. The defendant argued that the drugs belonged to his passenger. A jury deadlocked during trial deliberations on Jan. 23. The defendant is facing several felony counts of drug possession with the intent to deliver. He is accused of possessing prescription drugs including hydromorphone, methadone and oxycodone. He also allegedly was in possession of alprazolam - better known as Xanax - and phenobarbitol, both potent prescription drugs.

The man's passenger testified that the pair was traveling to nearby Indiana to sell drugs. He said the trip was the second the pair had made to the area for that purpose.

Attorneys for both parties said they appreciated the jury's careful consideration of the case, even though they deadlocked. A recent change in state policy allowed the jurors to submit a list of topics that confused them or caused them to be divided over a verdict. A hearing will determine whether the man will face another trial in the matter. The defendant could face life in prison because he is considered a habitual offender. He reportedly escaped from jail in 2001 and had faced assault and firearm convictions in the 1980s.

This is a high-stakes case for the defendant. If he is convicted of any of the felonies, he could receive a life sentence. A qualified Michigan defense attorney can help so-called habitual offenders learn more about their special legal situation.

Source: The Daily Mining Gazette, "Jury can't reach verdict in drug case of Flint man in Baraga County" Garrett Neese, Jan. 24, 2014

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