A Syracuse man sentenced to prison two weeks ago on a drug conviction was ordered released Tuesday pending his appeal of the state statute that enhances drug convictions one degree if they occur within 1,000 feet of a school.
Lane C. Stromberg, 36, was given a zero-to-five-year prison sentence Nov. 1 by 2nd District Judge Douglas L Cornaby on his conviction of possession of marijuana after a three-day trial in September.Marijuana possession is normally a Class A misdemeanor under Utah law, carrying a maximum term of one year in the county jail. But because Stromberg's home at 1487 S. 1250 West is next to Syracuse Elementary School, the enhancement clause pushed the charge up to a third-degree felony.
Defense attorney Dave Knowlton maintains that clause is unconstitutional, making two persons engaging in the same behavior subject to different penalties because one happens to be within 1,000 feet of a school.
Prosecutor Steve Major of the Davis County attorney's office agreed the state enhancement clause is "a unique aspect" and said Utah is the only state that has it.
Stromberg was arrested May 20 after a 15-year-old girl told Syracuse Police she'd had sexual relations with Stromberg in his home and saw marijuana and drug paraphernalia there.