Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
JAMES ALFRED REED, JR.
STATE OF TENNESSEE
Session July 23, 2014
Appeal from the Criminal Court for Monroe County No. 12378 Amy A. Reedy, Judge
W. Tyler Weiss, Madisonville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, James Alfred Reed, Jr.
Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Steven Bebb, District Attorney General; Heather Higginbotham, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.
Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr., J., and Timothy L. Easter, Sp. J., joined.
ROBERT W. WEDEMEYER, JUDGE
This case arises from the Defendant's sale of cocaine near Vonore Elementary School in Vonore, Tennessee. On direct appeal, this Court summarized the underlying facts of the case as follows:
At the trial, Vonore Police Lieutenant Robby Lovingood testified that he investigated narcotics cases. He said that on June 20, 2008, a confidential informant called him and said, "I've got a guy that sells crack cocaine." He said the alleged dealer lived in Blount County. He said that he called the Blount County Police to see if they were interested in investigating but that they declined because they were too understaffed. He said that he asked the informant if the transaction could be in Vonore and that the informant agreed. He said they agreed on a location they previously used because it was on the highway with a good surveillance spot.
Lieutenant Lovingood testified that he and the confidential informant met at the WilSav Drug Store in Vonore off Highway 411 near Vonore Elementary School at about 8:00 p.m. He said that he was in contact with the informant before arriving at the scene but that he did not see the [Petitioner] until he arrived. He said he wore a body wire and took currency that he photocopied for identification purposes. He said he paid the [Petitioner] $220 for the crack cocaine.
Lieutenant Lovingood testified that he thought the confidential informant and the [Petitioner] arrived in a van. He said he and the informant arrived at about the same time, got out of their vehicles, and greeted each other. He said he asked the informant if the man in the van was the one selling crack. He said that he entered the driver's seat of the van and that the [Petitioner] was the only person in the van. He said he did not see where the informant went during that time.
Lieutenant Lovingood testified that he did not give his real name or tell the [Petitioner] he was a police officer. He said he pointed out Vonore Elementary School and told the [Petitioner] he was a teacher there. He said that he asked if the [Petitioner] had what he needed and that the [Petitioner] looked at and pointed his finger at the floorboard. He said the [Petitioner] would not speak. He said he looked at where the [Petitioner] pointed and saw a plastic bag containing crack cocaine.
Lieutenant Lovingood testified that he and the [Petitioner] left the parking lot at about the same time. He said he put the crack cocaine in a cellophane bag, sealed it, took it to the Vonore Police Department, placed the cellophane bag inside an evidence bag, put it in the evidence locker, and had it transported to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI). He said that Vonore Police Officer Shane Carr transported items to the TBI laboratory for the department and that to his knowledge, Officer Carr transported the evidence bag. He identified the examination request he completed for the TBI laboratory and the TBI laboratory's report and said that both were dated June 20, 2008.
Lieutenant Lovingood testified that on June 26, 2008, the confidential informant contacted him and arranged a second meeting. He said he met the informant and the [Petitioner] between 9:00 and 9:30 p.m. at the Wil-Save Drug Store in Vonore. He said the informant drove the [Petitioner] to the meeting in the same van as on June 20. He said he photocopied the currency for identification and wore a body wire. He said that the informant left before the transaction and that he was alone in the van with the [Petitioner]. He said that he left $80 in the van and that he left the van with a plastic bag containing crack cocaine. After he left the van, other police officers took the [Petitioner] into custody.
Lieutenant Lovingood testified that he took the cocaine to the Vonore Police Department, placed it in an evidence bag, and put it in the evidence locker. He identified the evidence bag and said Officer Carr transported the evidence bag to the TBI laboratory. He identified the June 26, 2008 examination request and the laboratory report he received on the sample.
Lieutenant Lovingood testified that during one of the two transactions, the [Petitioner] told him that if he set the money on the floor, it would not be a "sell and delivery." He said he was not sure if this conversation took place during the first or second transaction but that the tape would provide that information. He said he put the money on the floorboard and took the crack cocaine. He said that when he left the van, the [Petitioner] was the only person inside.
Lieutenant Lovingood testified that students attended Vonore Elementary School daily and that it was within 1000 feet of the Wil-Save Drug Store. He said that he had measured the distance but that he did not remember the exact measurement. ...