State v. Boyer

Decision Date04 January 1979
Docket NumberNo. 45510,45510
Citation588 P.2d 1151,91 Wn.2d 342
CourtWashington Supreme Court
PartiesSTATE of Washington, Respondent, v. Dennis Alan BOYER, Petitioner.

Cordes, Cordes & Younglove, Clifford F. Cordes, III, Olympia, for petitioner.

Patrick Sutherland, Pros. Atty., Richard A. Strophy, Deputy Pros. Atty., Olympia, for respondent.

UTTER, Justice.

Defendant Dennis Alan Boyer was convicted by a jury on a charge of delivery of a controlled substance. We granted review to determine whether (1) a guilty state of mind must be proven to convict the petitioner of the charge, and if so, (2) did the trial court err in instructing the jury that such a state of mind should be presumed to exist from proof beyond a reasonable doubt of the act of delivery.

The defendant sold five pounds of LSD-laced mushrooms for $375 to an undercover agent with the State Drug Control Assistance Unit. In making the purchase, the officer posed as a marijuana dealer from eastern Washington who was interested in purchasing a variety of illicit drugs. The defendant admitted at trial that he understood he was dealing with one engaged in the unlawful drug trade, and in this context conversed with the officer about a variety of controlled substances. He further admitted making the sale as charged.

In spite of admitting the sale, defendant contended that he did not know the mushrooms contained the proscribed drug, and that he thought them to be naturally hallucinogenic, of the psilocybin type. 1 Defendant Boyer testified he had purchased a large quantity of the mushrooms, at a cost of about $450, from someone he had met on a mushroom hunting trip. The officer admitted at trial that the defendant never mentioned LSD, and always represented to him that the mushrooms were of the psilocybin type found growing naturally in the Grays Harbor area.

The jury apparently believed the defendant knew the nature of the product he was selling. It found him guilty on the charge of willful and unlawful delivery of the drug.

Defendant appealed his conviction, assigning as error the trial court's instruction to the jury that the willful nature of the delivery could be presumed from the act itself. Defendant contended the challenged instruction relieved the prosecution of its burden to prove each element of the crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt, in violation of the constitutional standard enunciated in Mullaney v. Wilbur, 421 U.S. 684, 95 S.Ct. 1881, 44 L.Ed.2d 508 (1975).

The first issue before this court arises from the decision of the Court of Appeals. That court indicated it did not believe any mental state need be proven regarding the crime at all, in contradiction to the holding of Division One of the Court of Appeals in State v. Smith, 17 Wash.App. 231, 562 P.2d 659 (1977).

The provision at issue is RCW 69.50.401(a), which provides in pertinent part:

Except as authorized by this chapter, it is unlawful for any person to manufacture, deliver, or possess with intent to manufacture or deliver, a controlled substance.

The issue is whether guilty knowledge, an understanding of the identity of the product being delivered, is a part of the crime. The intent language in the statute does not appear to resolve this issue since that language, rather, addresses a different question, whether or not there is an "intent to manufacture or deliver." The language of the statute thus provides no guidance...

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167 cases
  • State v. Alphonse
    • United States
    • Washington Court of Appeals
    • December 29, 2008
    ...cannot challenge the instruction, the premise on which the Supreme Court reversed the conviction in Lilyblad is absent. As the court held in Boyer, even where the challenge to the jury instruction raises a constitutional issue, the courts will not consider it if the defendant himself propos......
  • State v. A.M.
    • United States
    • Washington Supreme Court
    • September 12, 2019
    ...plain meaning). In State v. Boyer , this court interpreted another drug statute within the same chapter of the revised code. 91 Wash.2d 342, 588 P.2d 1151 (1979). That statute made it " ‘unlawful for any person to manufacture, deliver, or possess with intent to manufacture or deliver, a con......
  • State v. Smith
    • United States
    • Washington Supreme Court
    • October 3, 1985
    ...69.50.401. Although the statute does not state that knowledge is an element of the offense, this court so held in State v. Boyer, 91 Wash.2d 342, 344, 588 P.2d 1151 (1979). In Boyer this court addressed the absence of knowledge as an element under RCW 69.50.401, stating The language of the ......
  • State v. Studd
    • United States
    • Washington Supreme Court
    • April 1, 1999
    ...instruction was given." State v. Henderson, 114 Wash.2d 867, 870, 792 P.2d 514 (1990) (emphasis omitted) (quoting State v. Boyer, 91 Wash.2d 342, 345, 588 P.2d 1151 (1979)). Henderson also involved erroneous WPIC instructions proposed by a defendant and later complained of, and we held ther......
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