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Supreme court takes up drug possession laws

By Regan McCarthy

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-996341.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – The Florida Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in a case to determine the constitutionality of the state's drug possession laws. Regan McCarthy reports the outcome could have a far-reaching impact.

Under current law a person who has illegal drugs can be convicted of a crime whether he knew he had an illicit substance or not. Mathew Bernstein is the lawyer who argued against the current law. He says there are times when people might not realize what they have is illegal.

"If someone is walking down the street and they step in some white powder, I would have knowledge of the presence that the white powder is now on my shoe, but again that's innocent activity. You would in essence be forced to inspect everything you own, everything you're handed all the time."

But Florida Supreme Court Judge Barbara Pariente says people are on notice to be aware of things like that. At the airport, for example, she says announcements are constantly made reminding passengers not to accept packages from others.