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State v. Lee

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

February 16, 2018

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
DURAN MASZAE LEE

          Session December 19, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Anderson County No. B2C00544 Donald R. Elledge, Judge

         The Defendant, Duran Maszae Lee, was convicted by an Anderson County Criminal Court jury of possession with the intent to sell or to deliver more than 0.5 gram of cocaine, a Class B felony. See T.C.A. § 39-17-417(a)(4) (2010) (amended 2012, 2014). The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range II, multiple offender to sixteen years' confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction, (2) that the indictment is duplicitous, and (3) the trial court erred by failing to exclude his pretrial statements to the police. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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

          Robert L. Jolley, Jr. (on appeal, at sentencing, and at motion for new trial hearing) and Megan A. Swain (on appeal), Knoxville, Tennessee, and Brennan Lenihan (at trial), Clinton, Tennessee, for the appellant, Duran Maszae Lee.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Senior Counsel; Dave S. Clark, District Attorney General; and Anthony Craighead, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          ROBERT H. MONTGOMERY, JR., JUDGE

         This case relates to the seizure of cocaine during a vehicle search after the police received a report of an unrelated shooting in Clinton, Tennessee. At the trial, Oak Ridge Police Detective John Criswell testified that on April 27, 2012, the police dispatcher provided him with information about a possible shooting involving a gray-colored, four-door Kia sedan. Detective Criswell responded to the area of the shooting at approximately 1:00 p.m. and searched for the car. H e said that he saw a car matching the description, that the car was parked in the front yard of a home, and that he and additional police officers approached the car. Detective Criswell said that, without opening the car doors, he examined the car for bullet holes, cartridge casings, firearms, and injured persons. He said that he saw what he believed was cocaine wrapped in cellophane in the driver's side door handle.

         Detective Criswell testified that as he saw the off-white, rock-like substance in the cellophane, the woman who rented the home arrived. He said that the woman gave him permission to search the car, that he obtained the substance wrapped in cellophane, and that the Defendant came out of the home. Photographs of the car and of the substance wrapped in the cellophane were received as exhibits. Detective Criswell said a field test showed that the substance weighed approximately 2.4 grams and contained cocaine.

         Detective Criswell testified that the Defendant asked to speak to Captain Mike Uher, who was at the scene. Detective Criswell said that the Defendant admitted driving the car and owning the cocaine. Detective Criswell said that the Defendant also admitted he "sold drugs for a living" because he was unemployed. Detective Criswell overheard the Defendant state that the amount of cocaine inside the car was not "enough to send a man to the pen" because it only weighed 2.4 grams.

         Detective Criswell testified that he, Sergeant Hill, and Officer Freytag searched the home and that $825 cash and digital scales were found inside a bedroom. A photograph of the money and scales was received as an exhibit. Detective Criswell said that the Defendant was adamant that the cocaine belonged to him.

         On cross-examination, Detective Criswell testified that ten officers responded to the shots-fired call, that the car in which the cocaine was found matched the description of a car involved in the shooting, and that he did not find any guns, bullet holes, or cartridge casings inside the car. He agreed that the search of the home and the car could have occurred simultaneously and said that his focus was the car. He agreed that Captain Uher told the Defendant "something to the effect" that the woman who rented the home and the car would go to jail if the Defendant did not admit the cocaine belonged to him.

         Detective Criswell testified that based upon some of the items he saw inside the bedroom where the money and digital scales were found, he believed a woman slept in the bedroom. Detective Criswell agreed that he never saw the Defendant inside the bedroom. He agreed that he never saw the Defendant inside the car and that the Defendant did not have any money or drugs on ...


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