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State v. Mitchell

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

January 9, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
JEFFREY STANLEY MITCHELL

          Assigned on Briefs December 20, 2016

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Knox County Nos. 103163, 103177 Scott Green, Judge.

         The defendant, Jeffrey Stanley Mitchell, appeals his Knox County Criminal Court jury convictions of one count of facilitation of the possession with intent to sell more than 26 grams of cocaine within a drug-free school zone, one count of third offense simple possession of marijuana, two counts of the facilitation of the sale of .5 grams or more of cocaine within a drug-free school zone, and two counts of the sale of .5 grams or more of cocaine within a drug free school zone, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions. Because our supreme court has determined that the provisions of the Drug-Free School Zone Act do not apply to convictions of facilitation, the sentences imposed for the defendant's convictions of facilitation must be reversed and the case remanded for resentencing on those counts. The judgments of the trial court are affirmed in all other respects.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3; Judgments of the Criminal Court Affirmed in Part; Reversed and Remanded in Part

          Alexander Brown, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jeffrey Stanley Mitchell.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Sean McDermott, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          James Curwood Witt, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and John Everett Williams, J., joined.

          OPINION

          JAMES CURWOOD WITT, JR., JUDGE.

         The defendant's convictions in case number 103177 relate to the sale of cocaine to confidential informant Laquinton Pettway on four occasions at the defendant's Woodbine Avenue address in Knoxville. The convictions in case number 103163 relate to the execution of a search warrant at the Woodbine Avenue residence on September 12, 2013.

         At trial, Mr. Pettway testified that he began working as a confidential informant with Knoxville Police Department ("KPD") Officer Adam Broome after Officer Broome arrested Mr. Pettway for selling cocaine. Mr. Pettway agreed to work as an informant in exchange for leniency in relation to his charges of violating his probation and selling cocaine.

         On August 7, 2013, Officer Broome searched Mr. Pettway's person and his vehicle and then provided Mr. Pettway with $100 in marked money to purchase crack cocaine. Mr. Pettway was outfitted with audio and video recording equipment. Mr. Pettway then drove to a residence at 2544 Woodbine Avenue where he knew he could purchase drugs from a man he knew as "Jamaica" or one he knew as "Boss." He entered the residence through a side door and walked to a table where Boss and other men were seated. Mr. Pettway purchased cocaine "[a]t the table." Mr. Pettway identified the defendant from the video recording of the transaction as the man he knew as Boss. He said that the defendant appeared to sleep during the transaction. The recording of this transaction was played for the jury. After purchasing the cocaine, Mr. Pettway turned over the drugs and the recording equipment to Officer Broome.

         Mr. Pettway returned to the Woodbine Avenue residence to purchase drugs on August 9, 2013. Again, Officer Broome searched Mr. Pettway's person and his vehicle and provided him with marked currency and recording equipment. Mr. Pettway again entered the residence through the side door, but on this occasion, he purchased cocaine directly from the defendant, who was seated in the corner of the room. The video recording of this transaction was played for the jury. Mr. Pettway said that he had never purchased cocaine directly from the defendant before and that he had always purchased from "Jamaica."

         Mr. Pettway followed the same procedure when making a controlled purchase of $125 worth of crack cocaine at the Woodbine Avenue residence on August 28, 2013. When he entered the residence on that occasion, two men were at the kitchen counter bagging up crack cocaine. He explained that drug dealers would use a razor blade to shave smaller sale amounts of crack cocaine from a larger "cookie" of crack cocaine. He said that $125 would buy 2 to 3 grams of crack cocaine from Boss and that that amount, which was typically the size of a quarter, was referred to as an eight ball. Mr. Pettway would then break down that amount into "twenties, " which he explained was a $20 rock of cocaine. He said that he was "supposed to get five" $20 rocks from two grams of cocaine. Mr. Pettway purchased the cocaine from one of the men bagging the cocaine at the counter. The recording of this transaction was played for the jury. He said that it was not unusual for several individuals to be selling cocaine inside the Woodbine Avenue residence. Mr. Pettway turned the drugs and recording equipment over to Officer Broome.

         Mr. Pettway initiated another controlled buy from the Woodbine Avenue residence on September 10, 2013. He employed the same procedure as he had in the previous buys. On that day, the defendant personally bagged and sold the crack cocaine to Mr. Pettway. Also on that day, Mr. Pettway inquired about purchasing a silver revolver with a black grip from the defendant, but the ...


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