SD Supreme Court hears drug ingestion case - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

SD Supreme Court hears drug ingestion case

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The South Dakota Supreme Court is convening this week on the University of South Dakota campus in Vermillion.

Monday, justices heard arguments in the case against Sean Whistler, which calls into question the state's ingestion laws.

In 2012, Whistler was pulled over in Spearfish for driving at night without headlights. Police found marijuana on his person, and a blood test revealed that he had a blood alcohol content of .221 - nearly three times the legal limit to drive.

A urine test revealed that he had marijuana and cocaine in his system. While no physical cocaine was found, Whistler was charged with possession. His lawyers argue that the results of a urinalysis alone are not sufficient evidence for a conviction.

"Your Honors, no cocaine was found in his truck, on his person, there were no witnesses to Mr. Whistler ever consuming cocaine in Lawrence County or South Dakota," said attorney Matthew Pike.

During the initial court case, a chemist confirmed that cocaine stays in a person's system for three days, but it's impossible to know how long ago someone may have ingested the drug.

Whistler was ultimately sentenced to serve four years in prison with all but eighty days suspended.

The South Dakota Supreme Court will hear six more cases this week, including Ruschenberg v. Eliason, in which three employees accuse David Eliason, part owner of two adult novelty
stores, of sexual misconduct, including rape.

Justices will also hear arguments in Siers v. Weber, case stemming from the 2008 DUI arrest
of Donovan Siers, who refused to give a blood sample to police. He was restrained and blood was drawn without consent. Siers alleges his lawyers failed to challenge the seizure of
his blood without a warrant, which resulted in his incarceration.

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