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State v. Hinson

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

January 17, 2018

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
JOSEPH HOWARD HINSON, III

          Assigned on Briefs July 11, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Hardin County No. 10013 C. Creed McGinley, Judge

         A Hardin County Circuit Court Jury convicted the Appellant, Joseph Howard Hinson, III, of selling .5 grams or more of methamphetamine within a drug-free zone, a Class B felony. The trial court sentenced the Appellant as a Range II, multiple offender to sixteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence sustaining his conviction. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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

          James Edward Williams, III, Savannah, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Joseph Howard Hinson, III.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Breanne N. Hataway, Assistant Attorney General; Matthew F. Stowe, District Attorney General; and Vance Dennis, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Norma McGee Ogle, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., and Camille R. McMullen, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          NORMA MCGEE OGLE, JUDGE.

         I. Factual Background

         The Hardin County Grand Jury returned an indictment charging the Appellant with selling .5 grams or more of methamphetamine within a drug-free zone after a confidential informant purchased drugs from the Appellant.

         At trial, Hardin County Sheriff's Deputy Jason Caldwell, who was assigned to the 24th Judicial District Drug Task Force, testified that in August 2014, Tommy Woods offered to work as a confidential informant by making purchases of illegal narcotics. Woods was paid $100 for each purchase.

         On August 15, 2014, Woods called Deputy Caldwell and said that he believed he could buy methamphetamine from the Appellant. Deputy Caldwell and Investigator Johnny Alexander picked up Woods and drove him to the city park, which was located approximately 500 yards from the Appellant's apartment. Deputy Caldwell had Woods empty his pockets then did a pat-down around his waist and his socks. Deputy Caldwell acknowledged that he did not search around Woods's "crotch area." Deputy Caldwell found no illegal substances. Following the search, Deputy Caldwell equipped Woods with an audio/video recording device and gave him $150 to purchase approximately 1.5 grams of methamphetamine.

         Afterward, Woods walked from the park to the Regency Apartments complex. He returned to the park approximately fifteen minutes later. Deputy Caldwell searched Woods again, and Woods gave him a bag containing a white powder substance. Woods did not return any money to Deputy Caldwell. Deputy Caldwell performed a preliminary test on a "speck" of the white powder and determined that the substance was methamphetamine. He said that the "preliminary weight was 1.5 grams, that was the way it came to me in the bag." Deputy Caldwell said that he took the audio/video recording device from Woods.

         Deputy Caldwell said that he later gave the bag of white powder to his director, who inventoried it before sending it to the Tennessee Bureau of ...


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