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Walker v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

December 17, 2014

WILLIAM LANCE WALKER
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

Assigned on Briefs December 16, 2014

Appeal from the Circuit Court for Marshall County No. 2013-CR-146 Robert Crigler, Judge

James Ronald Tucker, Jr., Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellant, William Lance Walker.

Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith Devault, Senior Counsel; Robert Carter, District Attorney General; Weakley E. Barnard, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and John Everett Williams, J., joined.

OPINION

ROBERT W. WEDEMEYER, JUDGE

I. Facts

A. Trial

This case arises from the Defendant's sale of cocaine to a confidential informant in a Walmart parking lot in Lewisburg, Tennessee. On direct appeal, this Court summarized the underlying facts of the case as follows:

Kristoffer Peacock, the confidential informant, testified for the State. According to Mr. Peacock, after he was caught with several ounces of marijuana at his home, he became a "cooperating individual" for the 17th Judicial Drug Task Force at some point prior to the transaction involving [the Petitioner]. Mr. Peacock had never met [the Petitioner] prior to November 14, 2008, but knew about [the Petitioner] through [the Petitioner's] ex-girlfriend.
On the date of the incident, Mr. Peacock called [the Petitioner] and asked for an "eight ball" of cocaine. [The Petitioner] quoted a price of "$220 or 225, something like that." At the request of authorities, Mr. Peacock initiated contact with [the Petitioner] a second time to confirm the deal and try to negotiate the price. This telephone call was recorded and played for the jury.
Mr. Peacock was searched by authorities, fitted with a transmitter and recorder, and given $225 in preparation for the controlled drug buy. [The Petitioner] met Mr. Peacock in the parking lot of the Walmart in Lewisburg, Tennessee. [The Petitioner] got into the car with Mr. Peacock and handed him an "eight ball" of cocaine in a small bag which was tied in a knot. Mr. Peacock gave [the Petitioner] $225. Mr. Peacock left the location of the buy and drove back to the meeting point. He informed officers that the cocaine was located in the cup holder of his car. It was retrieved by police and tested positively for 3.3 grams of cocaine.
During cross-examination, Mr. Peacock testified that he owned a janitorial business. Prior to the incident at issue herein, [the Petitioner] had asked Mr. Peacock for a job. Mr. Peacock admitted that he was "going to potentially give [the Petitioner] a job." Counsel for [the Petitioner] asked if the "Drug Task Force [knew he] was going to potentially give [the Petitioner] a job." Mr. Peacock answered, "When [the Petitioner] got out of jail, he never called me."
Special Agent Billy Osterman, the "tech man" on the 17th Judicial Drug Task Force for the controlled buy at issue herein was responsible for preserving the evidence of the telephone call prior to the transaction and supplying Mr. Peacock with the money for the transaction. Special Agent Osterman also fitted Mr. Peacock with the transmitter and recorder to monitor the transaction. Special Agent Osterman monitored Mr. Peacock's audio transmission throughout the transaction and was in visual contact with Mr. Peacock until he approached the Walmart parking lot. At that point in time, another agent, Special Agent Shane George, actually picked up visual contact of Mr. Peacock and witnessed the transaction with [the Petitioner]. The purchase was videotaped by Special Agent George. Deputy Sheriff Tim Miller of the Bedford County Sheriff's Department also maintained visual contact with Mr. Peacock during the transaction.

Walker, 2013 WL 1799988, at *1-2. The jury convicted the Petitioner of the sale of .5 grams or more of cocaine and the delivery of .5 grams or more of cocaine. The trial court merged the two offenses and sentenced the Petitioner to twelve years in incarceration, to be served consecutively with his sentence in another case, for a total effective sentence of forty-seven years of confinement. Walker, 2013 WL 1799988, at *2. The Petitioner filed a motion for new trial, and, at a ...


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