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MELVIN GRIFFIN & LARRY GRIFFIN v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

NOVEMBER 13, 1985

MELVIN GRIFFIN & LARRY GRIFFIN
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



BEFORE ROY NOBLE LEE, ROBERTSON and ANDERSON

ROY NOBLE LEE, PRESIDING JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

Melvin Griffin and Larry Griffin were jointly indicted and tried in the Circuit Court of Bolivar County for conspiracy to sell, and possess with intent to sell, a controlled substance classified in Schedule II as pentazocine. The jury found them guilty on December 16, 1983, and the lower court sentenced Melvin Griffin to fifteen (15) years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with five (5) years to serve, and ten (10) years suspended, and sentenced Larry Griffin to fifteen (15) years, with ten (10) years to serve, and five (5) years suspended. The Griffins appeal to this Court and assign four (4) errors in the trial below.

I.

 THE VERDICT OF THE JURY IS CONTRARY TO THE OVERWHELMING WEIGHT OF THE CREDIBLE EVIDENCE.

 The State introduced three witnesses to establish its case. The arresting officer, Bill Quinton, testified that an

 informant, Jerry Smith, who knew the defendants, gave him information that Melvin was selling "T's and blues" ; that Quinton arranged with Smith to conduct a "buy" with Melvin Griffin, the money being furnished by the police; that the transaction took place on November 10, 1982, at the Junior Food Mart; and that Quinton furnished Smith with a tape recorder in order that the sale could be recorded.

 According to Quinton, the transaction proceeded as scheduled. Melvin Griffin and Larry Griffin drove up in an automobile and parked a few feet away from Smith's vehicle. Melvin got out of his automobile and talked to Smith through the window, as Larry Griffin went inside the store. The conversation was recorded, and, in addition, the police photographed the sale from a distance with a telescopic lens. After the sale, Smith left the tape and the drugs he obtained from Melvin Griffin in a wrecked police car behind police headquarters as he had been instructed by the police.

 Officer Quinton arranged with Smith to make a larger "buy" with Melvin Griffin as soon as possible and that buy was scheduled for November 15, 1982. The modus operandi was the same as on November 10, and Melvin Griffin was arrested by Officer Quinton and others as he approached Smith's automobile. Smith corroborated the testimony of Officer Quinton and detailed his participation in the matter. The third witness was a technician from the Mississippi Crime Lab, who identified the controlled substance as penta.

 The evidence further reflected that Melvin Griffin had previously sold the controlled substance, commonly known as "T's and blues," to Smith. Both Officer Quinton and Jerry Smith testified that Larry Griffin was a passenger in Melvin Griffin's car when Melvin made the sale on November 10, and Smith testified that Larry had been with Melvin nine or ten times when prior sales witnessed by Smith were made; and that he had bought drugs from Melvin about twenty or twenty-five times with the following procedure:

 Q. Would you describe exactly what you mean.

 A. Okay. I would call Melvin and tell him how many I wanted, and Melvin would come to meet me and Larry would be with him in the car. Usually, Larry sat in the car or either went in the store and Melvin would come and get in the car with me. One time I called and never got to talk to Melvin and I talked to Larry and he told me, you know, that he would take care of it if I needed anything or whatever I wanted he would get them.

 Q. When was that in relation to the date that the pictures were taken that Larry told you this?

 A. Well, Larry had told me that before we ever discussed all of the pictures, you know, before that ever had taken place, and then after we took the pictures and I made the tape Wednesday then I talked to Larry Thursday because Melvin was gone and Larry told me then that ...


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