Assigned on Briefs at Knoxville July 25, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Hardeman County No. 15-CR-156 J.
Weber McCraw, Judge
Defendant, Rico Carter Whisnet,  was convicted by a Hardeman
County Circuit Court jury of delivery of less than 0.5 gram
cocaine, a Class C felony, and delivery of 0.5 gram or more
of cocaine, a Class B felony. See T.C.A. §
39-17-417 (2014). The trial court sentenced the Defendant as
a Range II, multiple offender to concurrent terms of eight
and sixteen years in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant
contends that the trial court erred in its application of the
mitigating and enhancement factors and by imposing more than
the minimum sentence. We affirm the judgments of the trial
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Circuit
Coleman W. Garrett and Claiborne H. Ferguson, Memphis,
Tennessee, for the appellant, Rico Carter Whisnet.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee
W. Turner, Senior Counsel; Mike Dunavant, District Attorney
General; and Joe VanDyke, Assistant District Attorney
General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
H. Montgomery, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court,
in which Alan E. Glenn and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.
H. MONTGOMERY, JR., JUDGE
case relates to two controlled drug purchases conducted by
the Hardeman County Sheriff's Office on July 11 and July
14, 2014. At the trial, Hardeman County Sheriff's Office
Narcotics Investigator Jason Wilson testified that he had
been involved in about 100 narcotics cases during his career
and had worked with confidential informants. Investigator
Wilson and Captain Greg Moore had received complaints that
the Defendant was selling drugs. Investigator Wilson arranged
for controlled drug purchases by an experienced confidential
informant. Investigator Wilson said that he had worked with
this confidential informant on numerous other controlled drug
purchases and that the confidential informant was reliable.
The condfidential informant was paid for his assistance in
officers gave the confidential informant a video camera,
hidden in a keychain, to record the transactions. The video
recordings are not included in the appellate record, however,
the recordings of both transactions were played for the jury.
During the viewing of the recordings, Investigator Wilson
identified the Defendant's car, home, and voice. In the
recording of the first transaction, the confidential
informant identified the Defendant by name and greeted the
Defendant's mother. The confidential informant returned
to the investigators with a "baggie" of what
appeared to be crack cocaine. Investigator Wilson said that
during the second controlled drug purchase, the confidential
informant met with the Defendant at a designated location.
The confidential informant again returned with a baggie of
what appeared to be crack cocaine. The substances were sent
to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) laboratory for
analysis. T he analyses concluded that the substances were
cross-examination, Investigator Wilson testified that Captain
Moore searched the confidential informant before the first
transaction occurred. Investigator Wilson acknowledged that
the video recording of the first transaction did not show the
exchange of drugs and money but said that the exchange was
audible in the recording. Investigator Wilson admitted that
the confidential informant stopped to purchase gas on the way
to meet the Defendant and left the camera in the car while at
the gas station. Investigator Wilson said that the
confidential informant stopped a second time before meeting
with the Defendant to "get his money right."
Investigator Wilson admitted that the recording did not show
the confidential informant during the second stop.
Investigator Wilson said that the recording of the second
controlled drug purchase did not show the exchange of drugs
and money but that the exchange was audible in the recording.
County Sheriff's Office Captain Greg Moore testified that
he had assisted Investigator Wilson during both controlled
drug purchases. Captain Moore stated that he searched the
confidential informant and the confidential informant's
car before and after both transactions and that nothing was
discovered during the searches.
confidential informant testified that he had worked as a
confidential informant for approximately three or four years.
He admitted that he had an extensive criminal history. The
confidential informant said that he had participated in about
seven or eight controlled drug purchases with Investigator
Wilson. He said that he met with Investigator Wilson and
Captain Moore before the first transaction. The confidential
informant said that he travelled to the Defendant's home,
that he purchased crack cocaine from the Defendant, and that
he placed the crack cocaine in his pocket. The confidential
informant said he gave the crack cocaine to Investigator
confidential informant testified that he met the Defendant at
the designated location for the second transaction. The
confidential informant stated that the Defendant was sitting
in a car when he arrived, that he got in the Defendant's
car, and that he purchased crack cocaine. The ...