Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
Assigned on Briefs March 21, 2017
from the Criminal Court for Sullivan County No. S62750 R.
Jerry Beck, Judge.
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.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
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
Ross Dyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
John Everett Williams and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.
ROSS DYER, JUDGE
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
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
[Detective Lane]: Cool where u want to ...