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State v. Lyles

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

June 5, 2015

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
JASON LYLES

Assigned on Briefs March 11, 2015

Appeal from the Circuit Court for Maury County No. 22121 Stella Hargrove, Judge

Douglas K. Chapman (on appeal), and Jacob Jackson Hubbell (at trial), Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jason Lyles.

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Ahmed A. Safeeullah, Assistant Attorney General; T. Michel Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Brent A. Cooper, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Roger A. Page, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and Camille R. McMullen, JJ., joined.

OPINION

Roger A. Page, J.

This case involves four undercover drug transactions between appellant and a confidential informant that were supervised by the Columbia Police Department narcotics division.

I. Facts

A. Trial

The State called Special Agent Forensic Scientist John Scott as its first witness, and the trial court accepted him as an expert in the field of forensic chemistry with a concentration in the identification of controlled substances. Special Agent Scott identified the two samples of "chunky powder" that were submitted to him as cocaine, a Schedule II controlled substance, and recorded their individual weights as 0.66 grams and 0.74 grams. Special Agent Forensic Scientist Jennifer Sullivan testified next and was also accepted by the trial court as an expert in the field of forensic science with a concentration in the identification of controlled substances. Special Agent Sullivan identified one sample of an unknown substance that was submitted to her as cocaine, a Schedule II controlled substance, and recorded the individual weight as 1.03 grams. Special Agent Forensic Scientist Glen Jay Glenn, who was also accepted by the trial court as an expert in the field of forensic science with a concentration in the identification of controlled substances, tested the fourth sample and identified it as cocaine, a Schedule II controlled substance, with a weight of 0.86 grams. The State established the chain of custody for the above evidence through the testimony of Columbia Police Department Officer Jeremy Humphrey.

The State called Kevin Odie as its next witness. Mr. Odie had three felony drug charges pending at the time of trial and had three prior convictions for drug-related offenses, one of which resulted in an eleven-year prison sentence. For that reason, Mr. Odie sought out Officer Jason Dark with the Columbia Police Department and offered to assist him in undercover drug operations. Accordingly, Officer Dark asked Mr. Odie to "'make a few buys, '" and Mr. Odie named individuals, including appellant, from whom he believed he could purchase either marijuana or cocaine.

Mr. Odie testified that prior to June 15, 2012, he spoke with appellant about purchasing a gram of "powder" cocaine. A price was set, and a meet was scheduled. On that date, Mr. Odie met with Officer Dark to prepare for the buy. Officer Dark searched Mr. Odie's vehicle and his person and provided Mr. Odie with the money to purchase the drugs. Mr. Odie was also equipped with a surveillance device that captured both audio and video of the transaction. He then drove to the home of appellant's sister to complete the transaction. When Mr. Odie drove up, appellant told him that the person from whom he had ordered the cocaine was going to bring it to Mr. Odie. The person delivering the drugs was allegedly traveling from Franklin to Columbia for the transaction. The surveillance showed appellant and Mr. Odie waiting for the person from Franklin to arrive.

Mr. Odie stated that while they waited, he and appellant drove to an address on Elaine Drive to attempt to purchase cocaine from someone there. Mr. Odie waited in his car while appellant walked up to a residence and returned with what he said was a gram of powder cocaine. Appellant asked Mr. Odie what he intended to do with the cocaine, and Mr. Odie told him that he planned to sell it. Mr. Odie explained that he said that to appellant so that he would not have to share it with him. Mr. Odie and appellant then drove back to appellant's sister's residence.

Mr. Odie testified that after he left the residence, he contacted Officer Dark to let him know that the transaction had been completed. He met with the officer and relinquished the cocaine. Mr. Odie explained that the reason that appellant was not clearly pictured in the surveillance video during the time they drove to Elaine Drive was that he did not want it to appear obvious that he was wearing a recording device, which was placed on his left side. He explained that with the placement of the camera on his ...


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