Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs September 9, 2014
The Defendant, Minlando Cordell Young, was indicted for one count of selling less than .5 grams of cocaine, a Class C felony; one count of delivering less than .5 grams of cocaine, a Class C felony; two counts of selling one-half ounce or more but less than ten pounds of marijuana, a Class E felony; two counts of delivering one-half ounce or more but less than ten pounds of marijuana, a Class E felony; one count of selling .5 grams or more of cocaine, a Class B felony; one count of delivering .5 grams or more of cocaine, a Class B felony; possession of .5 grams or more of cocaine “for resale, ”  a Class B felony; and possession of .5 grams or more of cocaine with intent to deliver, a Class B felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-417. Following a jury trial, the Defendant was convicted of one count of delivery of .5 grams or more of cocaine and one count of the lesser-included offense of simple possession, a Class A misdemeanor. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-418. The jury acquitted the Defendant of all the remaining charges. The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range I, standard offender to twelve years for the felony conviction and eleven months and twenty-nine days for the misdemeanor conviction. The trial court ordered the two sentences to be served consecutively. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred in imposing an excessive sentence for his felony conviction. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.
Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Circuit Court Affirmed
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Bedford County No. 17551 F. Lee Russell, Judge
James Ronald Tucker, Jr., Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Minlando Cordell Young.
Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel; Robert James Carter, District Attorney General; Richard A. Cawley and Michael David Randles, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.
D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., Judge
As pertinent to this review, the following evidence was produced at trial. Anthony Merlo testified that in 2012, he was serving as a confidential informant to the Seventeenth Judicial District Drug Task Force and that his daughter was in a relationship with the Defendant. Mr. Merlo testified that on June 29, 2012, he arranged to purchase cocaine from the Defendant. Mr. Merlo met the Defendant at a parking lot where he exchanged $200 for an "eight ball" of cocaine.
Several members of the Seventeenth Judicial District Drug Task Force testified that Mr. Merlo and his car were searched prior to the exchange, that Mr. Merlo was given $200 in marked funds and an audio recorder, that they observed Mr. Merlo drive to the exchange, and that they observed the exchange. The officers also testified that Mr. Merlo drove from the exchange to a prearranged meeting place where he and his car were searched again and he turned over the cocaine. Audio and video recordings of the exchange were played for the jury. Subsequent testing established that the Defendant had given Mr. Merlo 2.6 grams of powder cocaine.
The Defendant contacted Mr. Merlo later that day to tell Mr. Merlo that he was going to purchase more cocaine from another drug dealer and asked if Mr. Merlo was interested in making another drug buy. Seventeenth Judicial Drug Task Force officers observed the Defendant being driven by his girlfriend to the home of a known drug dealer. After leaving the drug dealer's home, Officer Shane George pulled the Defendant and his girlfriend over. As the car was pulling over, Officer George saw the Defendant reach out of the passenger side window and drop two plastic bags.
Officer George recovered the bags and saw that they both contained white powder. A search of the Defendant's girlfriend's car revealed a third plastic bag by the passenger seat also containing white powder. The Defendant initially denied that the bags belonged to him or his girlfriend. However, Officer George testified that the Defendant later admitted that all three plastic bags belonged to him. Subsequent testing determined that two of the bags contained 2.41 grams of powder cocaine. The third bag was not tested.
At the sentencing hearing, the Defendant's presentence report was admitted into evidence. The report revealed that the Defendant had three prior felony convictions: two convictions involving counterfeit controlled substances and one conviction for selling cocaine. The Defendant also had two misdemeanor convictions for possession of marijuana and numerous traffic offenses. In the report, the Defendant admitted ...