Court of Appeals upholds convictions in 2014 Greenwood County marijuana grow case Featured

Jaime Perez Hernandez. Jaime Perez Hernandez. Kansas Department of Corrections photos

Convictions in a marijuana cultivation case from Greenwood County are being upheld by the Kansas Court of Appeals.

Jaime Perez Hernandez was one of two people arrested in August 2014 after a multi-agency law enforcement investigation led authorities to believe a property was being used as a grow site, and ultimately law enforcement said there were more than 1,700 marijuana plants being cultivated.

Hernandez initially told authorities he was being paid $100 a day to water the plants twice a day, so he was charged with single counts of cultivation, conspiracy to cultivate and other counts. During court proceedings, he denied being paid and said he was told to water the plants at gunpoint. The jury found him guilty on all counts and the judge sentenced him to 10 years in prison.

When prosecutors initially filed charges, they made no statement about Hernandez's mental state, but they later amended their complaint to say he "intentionally, knowingly and recklessly" cultivated the drug -- and that was the crux of the Hernandez challenge. He said prosecutors failed to make allegations he "recklessly" cultivated the drug, the judge was wrong when she removed the "reckless" term from jury instructions because there was no evidence about reckless cultivation and there was insufficient evidence of cultivation as a whole because there was no evidence of reckless cultivation.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the district court ruling. It said the evidence supported Hernandez "intentionally" cultivating marijuana, meaning he also "knowingly" and "recklessly" produced the drug.

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