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Roberson v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

March 27, 2015

BRIAN S. ROBERSON
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

Session November 12, 2014

Appeal from the Circuit Court for Williamson County No. CR043428 Timothy L. Easter, Judge

M. Matthew Milligan, Franklin, Tennessee, for the Petitioner, Brian S. Roberson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Kim Helper, District Attorney General; and Sean D. Buddy, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Camille R. McMullen, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Norma McGee Ogle and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., JJ., joined.

OPINION

CAMILLE R. McMULLEN, JUDGE

The Petitioner's conviction for the sale of .5 grams or more of cocaine stems from a controlled purchase involving a confidential informant and Joey Kimble, Director of the 21st Judicial District Drug Task Force. This court summarized the underlying facts on direct appeal as follows:

Officer Chris Mobley was an officer with the drug task force of the Williamson County Sheriff's Department. On July 15, 2003, he worked with Sylvester Island, a confidential informant, who was making a controlled purchase of cocaine. Island was paid $100 per transaction and had his rent paid by the drug task force. Officer Mobley had worked with Island in the past. Officer Mobley and another officer, Agent Zollicoffer, met Island and searched both his person and his vehicle finding no contraband. They set up a transmitter and recording device in order to record the purchase. The officers then issued Island $250 to make the purchase. In the presence of the officers, Island made a phone call to the [Petitioner], known to him as "Ratman, " in order to schedule the purchase. At some point on Island's way to meet the [Petitioner], the transmitting equipment stopped working. Island met with the officers so that they could fix the problem. Island then continued on his way.
When Island first arrived to meet Ratman, the [Petitioner] was not there. Ratman arrived shortly thereafter in his car. The [Petitioner] got in Island's car. Island gave the [Petitioner] the $250 and the [Petitioner] gave Island approximately 5 to 6 grams of crack cocaine. After the deal was over, Island began talking to a neighbor while the [Petitioner] departed in his car. Island returned to the officers at the meeting location.
The officers once again searched Island and his vehicle and found no contraband other than that just purchased. Island gave Officer Zollicoffer the cocaine he had purchased with the $250. The cocaine's preliminary weight was 6.2 grams. Upon returning to the drug task force, the officers conducted a field test, and the substance tested positive for being cocaine. The officers placed the cocaine in an evidence bag, sealed the bag with tape, and wrote their initials on the tape. The evidence bag was placed in a temporary evidence locker.
Joey Kimble is the Director of the 21st Judicial District Drug Task Force. He is also the evidence custodian. On July 16, 2003, he retrieved the cocaine sold by the [Petitioner] to Island and placed it in the evidence room.
On August 11, 2003, the Grand Jury of Williamson County indicted the [Petitioner] for two counts of selling .5 grams or more of cocaine.
On October 1, 2003, Director Kimble took the cocaine to the TBI laboratory and gave the cocaine to a lab technician. Agent Cassandra Franklin is a forensic chemist with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. She received a sealed bag from a laboratory technician. She opened the bag and tested the substance. She tested the substance purchased by Island at the TBI laboratory. She determined that the substance was indeed cocaine, and the cocaine base weighed 5.4 grams. After testing the cocaine, she replaced the cocaine in the bag and sealed the bag with evidence tape and wrote her initials on the tape.
On January 21, 2004, Director Kimble retrieved the cocaine and returned it to the evidence room at the drug task force where it ...

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