Crime Watch 8

Indiana appeals court upholds conviction of Michigan man

KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) -An Indiana appeals court has upheld the conviction and sentencing of a Michigan man whose drug-related conviction included a search warrant for the contents of his stomach.

Officers in Kokomo obtained the warrant, arguing that Charles A. Clark, 42, swallowed a bag of crack cocaine during a traffic stop last year.

After pulling Clark over, officers spotted the bag in his car and placed it on the hood. A struggle ensued while officers were trying to handcuff Clark and when they regained control of him, the bag was gone and only a wet spot that appeared like saliva remained.

Doctors at a local hospital were unable to retrieve anything from Clark’s stomach, so the baggie and its contents were never recovered.

A jury determined Clark swallowed the crack to avoid a drug investigation, the Kokomo Tribune reported. He was found guilty of obstruction of justice and resisting law enforcement in January, and then sentenced to three years in prison.

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In his appeal, Clark argued that it was “mere speculation” that he ate the bag, and the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction because the officers didn’t actually see him put the bag in his mouth.

On Wednesday, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the conviction and the three-year sentence, ruling that it was reasonable for the jury to infer Clark ate the bag because of the events leading up to his arrest.

Clark asked for the advisory sentence of 18 months, but the court ruled that his character and past criminal history indicate that the three-year sentence is appropriate.