I recently took the deposition of a task force officer as a result of a raid on a residence with full ninja outfits, battering ram, and other accoutrements of home invasion and during the course of his testimony he indicated that he took a bottle of pills and for which the resident was charge with Possession of a Prescription Drug without a Prescription. Even though the prescription was to a family member whose name was on the search warrant and presumably thought to live there, but was not present at the residence during the entry and subsequent search, the resident who was present, also named on the warrant, was charged with Possession of a Prescription Drug without a Prescription in violation of 155A.21 of the Iowa Code which states: "A person found in possession of a drug or device limited to dispensation by prescription, unless the drug or device was so lawfully dispensed, commits a serious misdemeanor." Other than for the fact that the section is barely intelligible, a prescription label appeared on the bottle indicating lawful dispensation.
The most difficult part of this to understand is why the resident would be charged with a violation of 155A.21 or charged at all for that matter. What is it in the character of the charging officer to file it? Are we so anxious to charge people with crimes, thereby being able to define them as criminals, that law enforcement will use any method possible to do so? If this were a stand alone charge, the resident would be subject to jail, cost of bond, cost of legal defense, disruption of activities for court appearances. A word of warning to all of you who have recently departed children whether through college, marriage, job, or whatever reason, you better check your medicine cabinets for according to the local drug task force you are committing a crime and are subject to arrest. Not only are you subject to arrest but you probably will be arrested and find yourself on an escorted trip, in handcuffs, to the local jail.
In the first place, section 155A.21 states that there must be a valid prescription. In this instance there was and it was apparent. So where is the violation? Secondly, the code section does not indicate in any way that the one person can not hold the prescription medication of another person. So where is the crime here? There is no crime and someone associated with the drug task force should know it. It is difficult to understand.