Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs November 8, 2016
from the Circuit Court for Bedford County No. 18080 Forest
Bedford County jury convicted the Defendant, William Henry
Smith, Jr., of conspiracy to sell and deliver a Schedule II
drug, and the trial court sentenced him to fifteen years of
confinement. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that the
evidence against him is insufficient to support his
conviction. After review, we affirm the trial court's
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Jackson Dearing, III, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the
appellant, William Henry Smith, Jr.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; James
E. Gaylord, Senior Counsel; Robert J. Carter, District
Attorney General; and Michale D. Randles, Assistant District
Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
W. Wedemeyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and Alan E. Glenn, J., joined.
W. WEDEMEYER, JUDGE
Bedford County grand jury indicted the Defendant for
conspiracy to sell and deliver a Schedule II drug. At trial,
the parties presented the following evidence: Jose Ramirez, a
Marshall County Sheriff's Department deputy, testified
that he was assigned to the 17th Judicial District
Drug Task Force. During the course of his work with the Task
Force, Agent Ramirez became familiar with the Defendant. He
said that the Defendant was also known by the street name,
"Rat." Deputy Ramirez identified the Defendant in
Ramirez testified that on March 20, 2014, he participated in
a Drug Task Force investigation that targeted the Defendant
and another individual, Kavaris Kelso. For this operation,
the officers worked with a female confidential informant
("CI"). The CI arranged to purchase an ounce and a
half of cocaine for $2, 200 from the Defendant and Mr. Kelso.
Agent Ramirez, while at the CI's motel room in
Shelbyville, searched the CI's person, room, and vehicle
for contraband, large sums of money, and weapons before the
drug transaction, and found none.
Ramirez testified that a controlled buy is an illegal drug
transaction that is monitored by the law enforcement.
Normally, a CI is searched, wired for recording or audio
monitoring of the drug transaction, and provided with
recorded money for later identification. In this case, the
Drug Task Force altered the normal course of a controlled buy
and elected to do a "bust." Agent Ramirez explained
that a "bust" is when officers interrupt the
transaction before the actual sale occurs and take the
parties into custody. Based upon the decision to intercede in
the drug transaction before its completion, the CI was not
provided with money; however, she was still provided with a
Ramirez testified that, while still at the CI's motel
room before the transaction, officers instructed the CI to
place a telephone call to the Defendant to confirm the drug
transaction. Officers recorded this phone call, and the State
played the recording for the jury. Agent Ramirez identified
the CI's and the Defendant's voices on the recording.
In the recording, the CI can be heard asking whether she
needed to come and get the Defendant or if he planned to meet
her at her motel room. The Defendant responded that he would
come to the motel room where he would "dial him
up." The CI understood the Defendant's reference to
"him" to be Mr. Kelso.
Ramirez testified that officers placed a recording device on
the CI so that Assistant Director Miller could monitor the
transaction in real time. Agent Ramirez, along with other
officers, conducted surveillance of the transaction. Agent
Ramirez drove his vehicle across the street where he could
view the CI's motel room and the "general
area." Agent Ramirez observed the Defendant walk down
North Main, turn into the motel property, and then enter the
CI's motel room. After a period of time the CI and the
Defendant exited the CI's room and entered the CI's
vehicle. Law enforcement officers monitored the CI and
Defendant's route as they drove around "town."
The CI drove and they took a circuitous route, for
approximately thirty minutes, to the Bedford Manor Apartments
in Shelbyville, Tennessee. These apartments were
approximately two miles from the CI's motel.
Ramirez testified that the CI parked the vehicle at the
Bedford Manor Apartments, and, a short time later, the CI
departed alone in the vehicle. Agent Ramirez followed the CI
while the other officers remained in position near the
Bedford Manor Apartments. After a short distance, Agent
Ramirez flagged the CI over to find out why she had left.
While speaking with the CI, Agent Ramirez observed a cell
phone in the vehicle that the CI indicated was the
Defendant's phone. The phone began ringing, and the CI
answered the phone. ...