Aguirre v. State (2003)

In Aguirre v. State, No. 08-00-00456-CR, 2003 WL 550291 (Tex. App.--El Paso Feb. 27, 2003, pet. ref'd), Appellant was charged with the first-degree felony offense of delivery of a controlled substance, cocaine, in an amount of four or more but less than 200 grams. Id. The jury found Appellant guilty, and the judge sentenced him to ten years' confinement, probated for ten years. Id. On appeal, Appellant argued that the State failed to prove the amount and nature of the adulterants and dilutants present in the cocaine. Id. Within this issue, Appellant contended that the State had to prove the above amount to satisfy the requirements of Apprendi. Id. Appellant asserted that the addition of the adulterants and dilutants to cocaine resulted in an increased penalty for delivery, which was a penalty-enhancing element that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Id. However, the Court found Appellant's reliance on Apprendi flawed. Id. The Court found that the code established several offenses relating to the possession of a controlled substance and an attendant punishment range. Id. The Court recognized that the amounts of controlled substance and the corresponding punishment ranges were graduated but found that the graduation did not create an enhanced penalty scheme, but rather independent chargeable offenses. Id. The Court also opined that the amount of adulterant or dilutant was not a fact issue that was used by the court to enhance the penalty beyond the statutory limits. Id.