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Lanier v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

May 10, 2018


          Assigned on Briefs April 3, 2018

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Dyer County No. 11-CR-443 R. Lee Moore, Jr., Judge

         The petitioner, Jerry Edward Lanier, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition arguing he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

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

          Noel H. Riley, Jr., Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jerry Edward Lanier.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Jonathan H. Wardle, Assistant Attorney General; Danny Goodman, Jr., District Attorney General; and Karen Burns, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          J. Ross Dyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which D. Kelly Thomas, Jr. and Robert L. Holloway, Jr., JJ., joined.


          J. ROSS DYER, JUDGE.

         Facts and Procedural History

         A Dyer County jury convicted the petitioner of two counts of selling more than 0.5 grams of cocaine in a drug-free zone for which he received an effective thirty-year sentence. This Court affirmed the petitioner's convictions on direct appeal, and our Supreme Court denied his application for permission to appeal. State v. Jerry Edward Lanier, No. W2014-01840-CCA-R3-CD, 2015 WL 3397627, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. May 27, 2015), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Sept. 21, 2015). On direct appeal, this Court recited the following underlying facts and procedural history:

This case arises from two drug transactions that occurred within one thousand feet of Scott Street Park in Dyer County, Tennessee, between the [petitioner] and a confidential informant working with the police. A Dyer County grand jury indicted the [petitioner] for two counts of sale of a Schedule II drug in a drug-free zone. At the [petitioner]'s trial on these charges, the parties presented the following evidence: Mike Leggett, a Dyersburg Police Department officer, testified that he was involved in a controlled buy on July 1, 2011, in Dyersburg. Sergeant Leggett stated that the drug buy occurred at a residence located on Scott Street, which is located near Scott Street Park.
Sergeant Leggett testified that, due to the "relatively small" population of Dyersburg, the narcotics unit often used confidential informants because police officers are easily recognized. He confirmed that a confidential informant was used in this controlled buy. Sergeant Leggett said that the Confidential Informant ("CI") and the CI's vehicle were searched prior to the buy. An electronic transmitter used to monitor the buy in real time as well as record the transaction was placed on the CI's body, and the CI was provided $50 for the drug purchase. The serial numbers from the bills given to the CI had been recorded by the police. Sergeant Leggett recalled that when he first met with the CI on July 1, 2011, he asked the CI, "Who can you buy from?" Using a number in his cell phone, the CI made contact with the [petitioner] and arranged to meet at the CI's residence.
Sergeant Leggett testified that police officers monitored the CI's exchange with the [petitioner] from "around the corner by the park, " because the CI had informed the officers that the [petitioner] was "very suspicious and aware of his surroundings." Following the exchange, the CI and the police officers met at a predetermined location where the cocaine was collected and the CI and his vehicle were again searched.
On cross-examination, Sergeant Leggett explained that he did not determine the location of the buy. The location was selected during the phone conversation between the CI and the [petitioner]. Sergeant Leggett stated, "That's where [the CI] was instructed to meet."
Chris Clements, a Dyersburg Police Department officer, testified that he worked with Sergeant Leggett on the July 1, 2011, controlled drug buy. He stated that he searched the CI's person, clothing, and vehicle to ensure that the CI did not have any contraband before the drug buy commenced. Sergeant Clements recalled that the buy occurred on Scott Street near a public park, Scott Street Park. After the transaction, the officers again met with the CI. Sergeant Leggett collected the drugs, and Sergeant Clements searched the CI and his vehicle, finding no evidence of contraband.
Sergeant Clements testified that he worked with the same CI on a drug buy from the [petitioner] on July 5, 2011. Sergeant Clements followed the same procedure as used for the July 1, 2011 controlled buy. He recalled that the CI called the [petitioner] and the two arranged to meet at the Scott Street residence. Immediately after the transaction, Sergeant Clements met with the CI and collected the purchased cocaine.
On cross-examination, Sergeant Clements testified that the CI was instructed to remain in his vehicle and not enter the residence during the transactions. Sergeant Clements agreed that, during the July 1, 2011, transaction, the CI did get out of his vehicle and sit on the front porch of the Scott Street residence for approximately seven minutes. He stated that the CI asked the police officers for permission before doing so.
Mason McDowell, a Dyersburg Police Department officer, testified that he worked with Sergeant Clements during the July 5, 2011, controlled drug buy involving the [petitioner]. Officer McDowell recalled that, before the controlled buy, Sergeant Clements searched the CI while he oversaw the technical equipment used to monitor and record the transaction. Officer McDowell also provided the CI with $50 of recorded money for the purchase. He stated that the CI advised the officers that he could purchase drugs from someone the CI referred to as "Slim." Officer McDowell knew "Slim" to be the [petitioner], and the CI confirmed with Officer McDowell that the person he referred to as "Slim" was the [petitioner].
The State played the video recording of the July 5, 2011 transaction, and Officer McDowell identified the CI's residence on Scott Street where the transaction occurred and the [petitioner]'s vehicle, a Ford Thunderbird, arriving in the driveway. Officer McDowell identified the [petitioner] as the person operating the Thunderbird. He also identified a white baggie being exchanged between the CI and the [petitioner] as consistent with the package the CI returned to the officers ...

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