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Brown v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

August 25, 2014

ANTHONY BROWN
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

Assigned on Briefs June 24, 2014 at Knoxville

Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 09-02479 Lee V. Coffee, Judge

Patrick E. Stegall, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Anthony Brown.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Ann Schiller, Assistant District Attorney General; for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Joseph M. Tipton, P.J., and Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., joined.

OPINION

D. KELLY THOMAS, JR., JUDGE

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The Petitioner, Anthony Brown, was indicted by a Shelby County grand jury of possession of 0.5 grams or more of cocaine with the intent to deliver, a Class B felony; possession of 0.5 grams or more of cocaine with the intent to sell, a Class B felony; and simple possession of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor. After a trial, a jury convicted the Petitioner of possession of 0.5 grams or more of cocaine with intent to deliver, a Class B felony; simple possession of cocaine, a Class A misdemeanor; and simple possession of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor. The simple possession of cocaine conviction was merged with the delivery of cocaine conviction, and the Petitioner received an effective twenty-year sentence. He appealed to this court, and his convictions were affirmed. See State v. Anthony Brown, No. W2010-01764-CCA-R3-CD, 2012 WL 1154284, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. March 30, 2012).

The following factual background was recited in the Petitioner's direct appeal.

At trial, Sergeant Chris Harris of the Shelby County Sheriff's Office testified that on September 11, 2008, he and other law enforcement officers were conducting a narcotics investigation in the area of Rocky Park and Kirby in Memphis, Tennessee. They were looking for Stacy Clark, from whom the officers "had made several undercover buys." As a result of these "buys, " Clark was wanted on several felony warrants, and her car was "subject to seizure." Sergeant Harris saw Clark's car drive by him and fail to stop at a stop sign. He began following the car. The car made a U-turn and began traveling toward Sergeant Harris. Harris activated his lights to initiate a stop. He saw [the Petitioner] driving the car. As soon as Sergeant Harris turned on his blue lights, [the Petitioner] "put it in reverse and attempted to flee from [Harris] several hundred feet." [The Petitioner]'s flight ended when he attempted to turn the car around and ran into a curb. Sergeant Harris used his car to block the car from the front, and Detective James Pavatte, who was also involved in the narcotics investigation of Clark, blocked the car from the rear. The officers took [the Petitioner] out of the car, placed him on the ground, and put handcuffs on him.
Detective Pavatte patted [the Petitioner] down and found a brown paper bag in [the Petitioner]'s front left pocket. Inside the paper bag were two plastic bags, one containing crack cocaine and the other containing marijuana. Sergeant Harris testified that the crack cocaine and the plastic bag it was in weighed 3.91 grams. He testified, based on his experience of thirteen years as a law enforcement officer and three years with the narcotics division, that the quantity of cocaine was worth approximately $150. Sergeant Harris also said that this quantity was more than a "one time use amount." The marijuana and its bag weighed 11.1 grams, was worth between $50 and $70, and, according to Harris, was more than the amount a person would use to smoke at one time. Sergeant Harris testified that officers did not find pipes or other drug paraphernalia that a person would use to consume the drugs, either on [the Petitioner] or in the car. Additionally, [the Petitioner] had "somewhere over a hundred dollars on him."
On cross-examination, Sergeant Harris acknowledged that [the Petitioner] was not the focus of the officers' investigation that day. He did not know where [the Petitioner] was going or to whom he was going to sell or deliver the drugs.
Detective James Pavatte of the Shelby County Sheriff's Office testified consistently with Sergeant Harris's account of the events of September 11, 2008. He testified that he had been a law enforcement officer for approximately nineteen years and had been involved in narcotics investigations for twelve to thirteen years. He had been involved in undercover operations buying cocaine or crack cocaine "well over a hundred" times. Detective Pavatte testified:
[The drugs] were packaged as though they were being delivered to someone. From my experience, usually . . . you'll find them just loose and the bags will be separate. They'll be in their pocket, but they're usually not in a paper bag or something like that. ...

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