MAGED MUTHANNA SALEH QASOON A/K/A MIKE A/K/A MAJED KASSOM A/K/A MAGED QASOON A/K/A MAGEED QUASOON APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 08/31/2016
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, HON. JUSTIN MILLER COBB TRIAL JUDGE.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: P. SHAWN HARRIS.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
ABBIE EASON KOONCE.
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: BILBO MITCHELL.
GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES AND FAIR, JJ.
Maged Qasoon was captured on video selling eight grams of
synthetic marijuana or "spice" to a confidential
informant. Qasoon's defense at trial was essentially that
he did not know the substance he was selling was illegal. On
appeal, he focuses on the specific language of his
indictment, which described his offense as "sale of
AB-FUBINACA, " and on the testimony at trial
establishing only that the substance Qasoon sold was
AB-FUBINACA "or a related isomer." Because these
contentions are made for the first time on appeal, the record
is largely undeveloped, but to the extent that the issues are
preserved, we find them to be without merit.
Unconstitutionally Vague Statute
In his first issue, Qasoon alleges that Mississippi's
schedule of controlled substances is unconstitutionally
vague. This issue is raised for the first time on appeal, and
would ordinarily be barred for that reason. But in
Fulgham v. State, 47 So.3d 698, 700 (¶6) (Miss.
2010), a four-justice plurality held that vagueness claims
are exempt from procedural bars, and the other two opinions
in the case, comprising the remainder of the court, assumed
the same result. Therefore, this issue may be raised for the
first time on appeal.
However, Qasoon fails to adequately raise the issue. He does
not support this argument with any relevant authority
concerning the void-for-vagueness doctrine, nor does he frame
his argument according to the vagueness test followed by
Mississippi courts. See, e.g., Nolan v.
State, 182 So.3d 484, 492 (¶¶28-31) (Miss. Ct.
App. 2016). The failure to cite and employ relevant authority
waives this issue on appeal, irrespective of whether the
claim would ordinarily be excepted from procedural bars.
See, e.g., Duncan v. State, 939 So.2d 772, 779 n.3
(Miss. 2006) ("Where an assertion of error is not
supported by authority, that assertion is deemed
Notwithstanding that the issue has been waived, Qasoon's
contentions are without merit. The challenged statute does
not affect a constitutional right, and therefore our analysis
would begin by "applying the statute to the
complainant's conduct before considering any hypothetical
scenarios." Nolan, 182 So.3d at 492 (¶31).
Qasoon's challenge is purely hypothetical: he alleges
that since our statute controls isomers of specifically
listed substances, and since isomers do not necessarily have
the same or similar chemical properties to the listed
compounds, it is theoretically possible for inert or benign
substances to be controlled. Qasoon contends that the statute
is unconstitutionally vague because a reasonable person might
not intuitively expect such compounds to be controlled, nor
would he have the means to verify compliance with the
Setting aside the question of whether that would actually
make the statute unconstitutionally vague, there is no reason
to think anything like Qasoon's hypothetical actually
happened here. It is true that the lab technician who
analyzed the substance could only say that it was
"AB-FUBINACA or a related isomer, " but nothing
suggested that the substance was innocuous. It was referred
to as "spice" and offered as a substitute for
marijuana. The active ingredient had been laced on plant
material, mimicking the appearance of marijuana. It was sold
for a large amount of money ($200 for eight grams), and the
exchange was made in a parking lot approximately two miles
from the convenience store owned by Qasoon's father,
where Qasoon worked and, according to his defense, sold legal
marijuana substitutes. In the recording of the sale, Qasoon
boasted of ...