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State v. Robertson

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

April 22, 2015


Assigned on Briefs March 3, 2015

Appeal from the Circuit Court for Madison County No. 14-49 Roy B. Morgan, Jr., Judge

The Defendant, Cedric Robertson, was convicted by a Madison County Circuit Court jury of the sale and the delivery of more than one-half ounce of marijuana, a Class E felony.[1] See T.C.A. §§ 39-17-417 (Supp. 2012) (amended 2014), 39-17-415 (2014). The trial court merged the convictions and sentenced the Defendant as a Range II, multiple offender to four years’ confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction. We affirm the judgment of the trial court

George Morton Googe, District Public Defender, and Jeremy B. Epperson, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Cedric Robertson.

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Jonathan H. Wardle, Assistant Attorney General; James G. (Jerry) Woodall, District Attorney General; and Rolf Hazlehurst, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Robert W. Wedemeyer and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.



This case relates to an undercover drug transaction involving a confidential informant. At the trial, Jackson Police Investigator Antonio Rhodes testified that he worked as a gang investigator and that on October 12, 2012, he coordinated an undercover operation with the assistance of Nathan Pigrum, a confidential informant. Mr. Pigrum told Investigator Rhodes that he had purchased narcotics from the Defendant, and Investigator Rhodes and Jackson Police Investigators Harris and Gause decided to conduct a controlled purchase of narcotics from the Defendant. The investigators and Mr. Pigrum met at a secret location, where Mr. Pigrum and his vehicle were searched to ensure Mr. Pigrum did not possess any contraband. Investigator Rhodes and Mr. Pigrum spoke about the operation, and Mr. Pigrum called the Defendant and "ordered" marijuana.

Investigator Rhodes testified that audio and video equipment were placed on Mr. Pigrum, that Mr. Pigrum drove to the Defendant's home, and that the investigators followed Mr. Pigrum in another vehicle. The investigators stayed in the general area during the controlled purchase to keep "a close eye" on Mr. Pigrum. After Mr. Pigrum arrived at the Defendant's home, he knocked on the door, and a man known as "Boo Boo" opened the door. Mr. Pigrum spoke with Boo Boo, entered the Defendant's home, and walked to the rear of the home where the Defendant was lying in bed. Investigator Rhodes said the Defendant and Mr. Pigrum had a casual conversation while Boo Boo entered another room to prepare the marijuana. Mr. Pigrum walked into the room where Boo Boo prepared the marijuana, spoke briefly to Boo Boo, and returned to the Defendant's bedroom. Boo Boo returned to the Defendant's bedroom with marijuana, and "an exchange [was] made."

Investigator Rhodes testified that Mr. Pigrum and the Defendant spoke for a short time and that Mr. Pigrum left. The investigators followed Mr. Pigrum, and they returned to the secret location. Investigator Rhodes collected the marijuana, and he searched Mr. Pigrum and his vehicle again to ensure Mr. Pigrum did not keep any of the drugs. The marijuana had a field test weight of 18.9 grams, and it was sent to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) for analysis. The TBI report showed the substance was marijuana and weighed 17.92 grams.

The audio recording of the Defendant and Mr. Pigrum's telephone conversation was played for the jury. In the recording, Mr. Pigrum told the Defendant that he was attempting to "pull on a little reefer" and asked what he needed to do. The Defendant made a comment about a birthday card. Mr. Pigrum said he needed to make some money so he could obtain a card for the Defendant. The Defendant interjected that he was talking to someone else and told Mr. Pigrum to "come on" after asking if anyone was with Mr. Pigrum. Mr. Pigrum said he was alone, and the Defendant said, "Alright."

Investigator Rhodes identified Mr. Pigrum's and the Defendant's voices in the recording. He identified a photograph of the Defendant's Facebook page and a photograph of the Defendant's business card posted on the Facebook page. He identified the telephone number on the business card and stated that the recorded telephone call was placed to the same number.

On cross-examination, Investigator Rhodes testified that while Mr. Pigrum was at the Defendant's home, someone mentioned purchasing pain medication. Investigator Rhodes believed Mr. Pigrum was speaking to the Defendant. He agreed Mr. Pigrum and the Defendant spoke about someone's birthday and a birthday card.

Jackson Police Investigator Justin Harris testified that he participated in the controlled purchase on October 12, 2012. He said his only responsibility was to search Mr. Pigrum's vehicle before and after the controlled purchase. He said he found no ...

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