Twin Cities defense lawyer Sam McCloud had a busy morning Friday, representing himself in court against drug charges and testifying that his ex-wife framed him after he had her committed for chemical dependency.McCloud, who specializes in DWI cases, is seeking to have the court throw out third-degree felony drug possession charges that were filed in October after police watched him pick up a box of hydrocodone pills mailed to him at the downtown Shakopee post office. He also is charged with two petty misdemeanors after a search of his rural Scott County home uncovered a drug pipe and a small amount of marijuana, which he said had been used by his ailing stepson.
An upbeat McCloud said afterwards that the pre-trial hearing "went fantastic. This case is history."
Scott County Chief District Judge William Macklin is expected to rule next month.
According to the complaint, Kerri M. Petterson, McCloud's ex-wife, told a Scott County detective last summer that McCloud got illicit prescription drugs from a California dealer. The tip made its way to federal agents, who arranged to flag packages from Ventura, Calif., addressed to McCloud.
Postal inspectors spotted such a package in September and obtained a federal warrant to open it, finding inside 90 hydrocodone pills in a plastic bag. On Oct. 3, agents with the Southwest Metro Drug Task Force arrested McCloud at his Shakopee office after watching him pick up the package.
In court Friday, McCloud argued that the search warrants used to arrest him were based largely on faulty information supplied by Petterson. If investigators had checked her background and found out she had an ax to grind, he said, they would have known she lacked the credibility to support a valid search warrant.
He said the warrants also should have noted that abuse allegations she leveled against him were unfounded, that she was being held in a lock-down facility and that he and his children had orders for protection against her.
Under questioning from McCloud and Assistant Scott County Attorney Darren Borg, Postal Inspector Kate Nichols testified that her main concern was the drug package, which she said arrived much as Petterson had said it would.
Scott County detective Nick Adler said that previous run-ins with Petterson hadn't raised suspicions, and that in any event he didn't believe her background was important. Luke Hennen, another Scott County detective, said that it's not routine to run a check on an informant.
McCloud then took the stand and made a statement, denying that he had ever received illicit drugs in the mail or that he knew what was in the package he picked up on Oct. 3.
Asked afterwards why he had decided to represent himself in court rather than get another attorney, McCloud said he didn't want to have to call anyone else names if things went badly in court.
"If this ship is going to sink, I'm going to be at the helm," he said with a smile.
Kevin Duchschere • 952-882-9017