Assigned on Briefs July 8, 2014
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Dyer County No. 11-CR-167 Lee Moore, Judge
Noel J. Riley, III, Dyersburg, Tennessee for the appellant, Brian Gauldin.
Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; C. Phillip Bivens, District Attorney General; Lance Webb, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
Jerry L. Smith, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which John Everett Williams and Camille R. McMullen, JJ., joined.
JERRY L. SMITH, JUDGE
In December of 2010, Officer Mason McDowell of the Dyersburg Police Department was in the midst of a year-long assignment the primary objective of which was facilitating undercover "controlled buys" of drugs. Officer McDowell was working with William Bryant Singleteary, also known as "Polo." Mr. Singleteary was a confidential informant who had participated in "excess of fifty" controlled buys.
On December 21, 2010, Mr. Singleteary met with Officer McDowell at a location on the north side of town. Another officer searched Mr. Singleteary's person and vehicle and both were equipped with audio and visual recording and transmitting equipment. Mr. Singleteary was given $70 for the buy. He was instructed to go to an area in which there were "drug problems" and attempt to execute a "street level buy." Officers observed Mr. Singleteary approaching two individuals on the street. One of those individuals was identified by Mr. Singleteary during trial as Appellant. Mr. Singleteary commented that Appellant was with a girl during this transaction. Once Mr. Singleteary completed the buy, he met with officers at a prearranged location. The officers retrieved what appeared to be rocks of crack cocaine from Mr. Singleteary and placed them in an evidence bag, which was signed and dated by Mr. Singleteary. Mr. Singleteary then returned the money that remained from the transaction to the officers.
The same process was followed on December 22. Mr. Singleteary saw Appellant approximately one block away from where the first transaction occurred. This time, Appellant was by himself. Once Mr. Singleteary made a purchase, he again met with officers at a prearranged location where the evidence was secured and marked.
Both of the drug transactions occurred near Scott Street Park, an area in Dyersburg designated by a street sign as a park with a "bar-be-cue grill and a covered [awning] . . . [and] a swing set." The first buy took place at a vacant blue house at 124 South Rawles Avenue midway between Scott Street and Finley Street. The second buy occurred at 708 Scott Street. According to officers, the drug transactions took place 553 feet and 660 feet from the Scott Street Park, respectively. The IT manager for the city of Dyersburg calculated the distance on the first buy at 495 feet and 670 feet, respectively. The substances purchased during the transactions were tested and found to be .55 grams of cocaine and .39 grams of cocaine.
As a result of the drug transactions, Appellant was indicted by the Dyer County Grand Jury for two counts of the sale of .5 grams or less of cocaine in a drug free zone, one count of the sale of a schedule III controlled substance in a drug free zone, and one count of the sale of .5 grams of more of cocaine in a drug free zone. Prior to trial, the State chose to nolle prosequi one count of the sale of .5 grams or less of cocaine in a drug free zone and one count of the sale of a schedule III controlled substance in a drug free zone, leaving one count of the sale of .5 grams or less of cocaine in a drug free zone and one count of the sale of .5 grams or more of cocaine in a drug free zone remaining.
After a jury trial, Appellant was found guilty of the remaining counts of the indictment and sentenced to an ...