Assigned on Briefs April 3, 2018
from the Circuit Court for Dyer County No. 11-CR-443 R. Lee
Moore, Jr., Judge
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.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
H. Riley, Jr., Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jerry
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
Ross Dyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
D. Kelly Thomas, Jr. and Robert L. Holloway, Jr., JJ.,
ROSS DYER, JUDGE.
and Procedural History
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
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
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 ...