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Name: People v. Thornton
Case #: G023913
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 11/29/2000
Subsequent History: Rehg. den. 12/29/00; rev. den. 3/14/01
Summary

Thornton gave police officers permission to search his car following a traffic stop. He volunteered the statement “I have only tried heroin. I am not really using it.” Police officers subsequently issued standard warnings pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona (1966) 384 U.S. 436, and Thornton made no further statements. Police officers later found heroin in the back seat of their vehicle after transporting Thornton. On appeal from his conviction for possession of heroin, Thornton argued that the statement should not have been admitted. The appellate court here affirmed his conviction. The evidence was highly probative, and the potential prejudice was substantially outweighed. The statement was volunteered, and not coerced. The jury was properly instructed that the statement was admissible solely on the issue of Thornton’s knowledge of the nature of heroin, an element of the offense. There was, therefore, no abuse of discretion.