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State v. Lane

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

April 24, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
JUSTIN RAY LANE

          Assigned on Briefs March 21, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Sullivan County No. S62750 R. Jerry Beck, Judge.

         A Sullivan County jury convicted the defendant, Justin Ray Lane, of four separate felony offenses for his participation in a controlled drug buy of heroin and cocaine within one thousand feet of a school. On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his convictions arguing the State failed to prove he authored the text messages which established the details of the illegal transaction. Additionally, and for the same reason, the defendant argues photographs of the text messages establishing the drug deal were not properly authenticated at trial. Finally, the defendant contends the trial court prejudiced the jury by including the preamble to the Drug-Free School Zone Act in its charge. After reviewing the record, submissions of the parties, and pertinent authorities, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal Court Affirmed.

          Stephen M. Wallace, District Public Defender; Andrew J. Gibbons, Assistant District Public Defender (on appeal); Kyle D. Vaughn, Kingsport, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Justin Ray Lane.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Courtney N. Orr, Assistant Attorney General; Barry P. Staubus, District Attorney General; and Josh D. Parsons, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          J. Ross Dyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which John Everett Williams and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          J. ROSS DYER, JUDGE

         FACTS

         This case arises out of a controlled drug buy that occurred between the defendant and Detective Daniel Lane of the Kingsport Police Department. As a result of the illegal transaction, the defendant was indicted for one count of the sale of heroin within one thousand feet of a school, one count of the delivery of heroin within one thousand feet of a school, one count of the sale of cocaine within one thousand feet of a school, and one count of the delivery of cocaine within one thousand feet of a school, all in violation of Tennessee Code Annotated sections 39-17-417 and 39-17-432.[1]

         At trial, the evidence revealed that on October 18, 2012, in order to set up the controlled drug buy, Detective Lane initiated a series of text messages from a Kingsport Police Department cell phone to cell phone number (xxx) xxx-4949 ("the 4949 number"). Detective Lane obtained the 4949 number through an independent drug investigation prior to sending the first text message. The text message exchange established the time, location, and substance of the controlled drug buy, as follows:

[Detective Lane]: Hey, would u be able to do 2 h and 1 white around [9:30?]
[4949]: Yea[.]
[Detective Lane]: Cool where u want to ...

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