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State v. Maples

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

December 5, 2016

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
CHARLES TRAVIS MAPLES

          Assigned on Briefs October 25, 2016

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Knox County No. 101752 Steven W. Sword, Judge.

         The defendant, Charles Travis Maples, appeals his Knox County Criminal Court jury convictions of three counts of the sale of cocaine in a drug-free school zone, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions. Discerning no error, we affirm.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3; Judgments of the Criminal Court Affirmed

          J. Liddell Kirk (on appeal); Mitchell Harper (at sentencing and motion for new trial); and Russell T. Greene (at trial), Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Charles Travis Maples.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Katherine C. Redding, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Philip Morton, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          James Curwood Witt, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Robert L. Holloway, Jr., and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          JAMES CURWOOD WITT, JR., JUDGE.

         The Knox County Grand Jury charged the defendant with four counts of the sale of 0.5 grams or more of cocaine in a drug-free school zone, four counts of the delivery of 0.5 grams or more of cocaine in a drug-free school zone, one count of possession of marijuana, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, and one count of evading arrest. Prior to trial, the State dismissed one count of the sale of 0.5 grams or more of cocaine in a drug-free school zone, one count of the delivery of 0.5 grams or more of cocaine in a drug-free school zone, and the counts charging possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and evading arrest. The State also reduced the charge in count three to the sale of less than 0.5 grams of cocaine in a drug-free school zone and the charge in count four to the delivery of less than 0.5 grams of cocaine in a drug-free school zone. The case thus proceeded to trial on two counts of the sale of 0.5 grams or more of cocaine in a drug-free school zone, two counts of the delivery of 0.5 grams or more of cocaine in a drug-free school zone, one count of the sale of less than 0.5 grams of cocaine in a drug-free school zone, and one count of the delivery of less than 0.5 grams of cocaine in a drug-free school zone.

         At trial, Knoxville Police Department ("KPD") Officer Michael Geddings testified that the investigation in this case began when experienced confidential informant Frances Charlene Brady approached him and told him that she could purchase crack cocaine from a man she knew only as "Purple." Ms. Brady also provided Officer Geddings with a telephone number for Purple and the license tag number of a vehicle that Purple had been known to drive. Utilizing the license tag number, Officer Geddings learned that the defendant had been a passenger in the registered vehicle during a traffic stop. Officer Geddings placed the defendant's driver's license photograph into a photographic array, and Ms. Brady identified the defendant from the array as the man she knew as Purple.

         On October 24, 2012, Officer Geddings had Ms. Brady place a recorded telephone call to the defendant for the purpose of arranging the purchase of $100 worth of cocaine. After the defendant agreed to sell the cocaine to Ms. Brady, Officer Geddings searched Ms. Brady's person, provided her with audio recording equipment and $100, and then drove her to an apartment in the Tillery Ridge Apartments on Merchants Drive. Ms. Brady telephoned the defendant to let him know she had arrived, and the porch light of a particular apartment flicked on and off several times. Ms. Brady went in through the front door of the apartment and came out the same way three or four minutes later. Ms. Brady identified for the jury her voice and the defendant's from the audio recording of the transaction. She came straight to the car and immediately turned over to Officer Geddings the recording equipment and a baggie that contained what Officer Geddings believed to be crack cocaine. Officer Geddings field tested and weighed the substance, which he then placed into an evidence bag to be sent to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation ("TBI") for testing. Testing established that the substance was 0.62 grams of crack cocaine.

         On November 1, 2012, Officer Geddings had Ms. Brady arrange another controlled purchase of crack cocaine from the defendant. After the defendant agreed to sell the drugs to Ms. Brady, Officer Geddings searched Ms. Brady's person, provided her with audio and video recording equipment as well as $100, and drove her to the same location in the Tillery Ridge Apartments. Ms. Brady again entered and exited through the front door. A video recording of the transaction that took place inside the apartment was played for the jury. Ms. Brady returned to the car and turned over to Officer Geddings what TBI testing established was 0.47 grams of crack cocaine.

         On November 5, 2012, Officer Geddings again had Ms. Brady arrange to purchase crack cocaine from the defendant. Ms. Brady placed a controlled telephone call to the defendant, and after he agreed to make the sale, Officer Geddings searched Ms. Brady and provided her with audio and video recording equipment as well as $100 to purchase cocaine. Officer Geddings also searched Ms. Brady's vehicle, and the two traveled in that vehicle to the same apartment in the Tillery Ridge Apartments. Ms. Brady again entered and exited through the front door of the apartment. A video recording of the transaction that took place inside the apartment was played for the jury. When she returned to the vehicle, she turned over to Officer Geddings the recording equipment and what TBI testing established was 0.78 grams of crack cocaine.

         Officer Geddings testified that the Tillery Ridge apartment where the transactions took place was "almost directly across the street" from Norwood Elementary School. Knoxville-Knox County KUB Geographic Information Systems employee Donna Roach testified that the location of each transaction was within 1, 000 feet of Norwood Elementary School. She ...


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