A Nebraska judge has dismissed a charge against a Minnesota man who admitted his intention to buy marijuana in Colorado.
Judge Susan Strong said in a filing Monday that she had no jurisdiction because Erik Felsheim, of Waseca, Minnesota, committed no crime in Nebraska, according to court records.
In October 2014 Felsheim, 24, and another man were arrested after a traffic stop on Interstate 80, west of Lincoln. Felsheim told a sheriff’s deputy that $65,000 found in their car was earmarked to buy pot in Colorado that he intended to sell in Minnesota, according to court records.
Felsheim was charged with possession of money intended for a drug violation and aiding the delivery of a controlled substance, the Lincoln Journal Star reports.
His passenger, James Atkinson, 23, pleaded no contest to charges of attempted possession of marijuana and money while violating drug laws. He finished his 360-day jail sentence last month.
But Felsheim chose to go to trail, where his attorney, Tim Sullivan, argued it is not a violation of Nebraska law to conspire to break the law of another state.
He pointed to a 1975 Nebraska Supreme Court case involving a man who was convicted of conspiracy to assault another man in Colorado after planning and paying a man in Nebraska to commit the act. The conviction was overturned because the assault never happened.
Prosecutors argued it was logical to infer that Felsheim intended to bring drugs back to Nebraska. But Strong found that Felsheim had not yet committed a crime in Nebraska when he was stopped.
Even though Nebraska law makes it a crime to possess money that’s intended to buy illegal drugs, Strong said the possession of money alone is not a crime.
Chief Deputy County Attorney Pat Condon said he doesn’t plan to appeal but called the decision a big deal. He said the case presented someone who was admitting what he was doing with no conviction as the result.