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WALLACE CHARLES TAYLOR v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

DECEMBER 14, 1988

WALLACE CHARLES TAYLOR
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



BEFORE ROY NOBLE LEE, C.J.; ROBERTSON AND ANDERSON, JJ.

ROBERTSON, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

I.

Lawyers can massage more meaning from a word than is there. Today's case of conspiracy to sell cocaine presents the related phenomenon, lawyers finding a distinction between words where there is no difference. We are told that the court below erred when it instructed the jury that it could convict if it found an implied agreement to sell cocaine, that this is too loose and unstructured, and that the jury should really have been instructed that it could only convict if, from the facts and circumstances, it could infer an agreement to sell cocaine. As the point eludes us, we affirm.

 II.

 On November 29, 1985, Preston Carter, an undercover narcotics agent for the Jackson Police Department, purchased cocaine from one Willie Earl Brown at Brown's apartment in Jackson. Earlier that afternoon, Carter had approached Brown and sought to buy one gram of cocaine. After making several

 inquiries, Brown told Agent Carter that he had found an individual who could take care of his needs.

 According to Carter, he and Brown were at Brown's apartment. An individual appeared at the door who was later identified as Wallace Charles Taylor, defendant below and appellant here. Brown invited Taylor in, introduced him to Carter as" Wallace ", and stated that he was the person who could get the" eight ball "for him. Agent Carter accepted and handed Brown $300.00 in cash which Brown in turn delivered to Taylor. Taylor then left and returned an hour and a half later and delivered to Brown and ultimately to Carter a small, square-shaped package having the number fourteen written on it. The contents of the package later proved to be cocaine.

 Taylor and Brown were jointly charged with conspiracy to sell cocaine in an indictment returned by the Hinds County Grand Jury on February 11, 1986. Miss. Code Ann. 97-1-1 (1972), 41-29-139 (a) (1) and 41-29-115 (4). Severance was granted and Taylor's case was called for trial on January 15, 1987. Undercover agent Preston Carter was the principal witness for the prosecution.

 Taylor took the witness stand and admitted coming to Brown's apartment on the day in question and that Brown handed him some money. Taylor said two other persons were sitting on the couch, but he did not recognize them. He denied any sale of marijuana or that the subject was ever mentioned. Brown did not testify, presumably because of his privilege against self-incrimination and the fact that his own trial was pending.

 The jury returned a verdict that Taylor was guilty of conspiracy to sell cocaine, whereupon the Circuit Court sentenced Taylor to serve a term of six years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Taylor now appeals that conviction and sentence.

 III.

 Taylor charges that the Circuit Court erred when it granted, over his objection, State's Instruction S-2. The said-to-be vice in the instruction is that it authorized conviction if the jury should find an" implied "agreement Wallace Charles Taylor and one or more persons to commit the crime of sale of cocaine." *fn1 In each of the two points where the instruction includes the word "implied" , Taylor says the correct word should have been "inferred" .

 The crime of conspiracy is committed when two or more

 persons combine to accomplish an unlawful purpose. Each conspirator must recognize that he is entering into a common plan with the other. Each must intend to further a common and unlawful purpose. See, e.g., James v. State, 481 So.2d 805, 808-10 ...


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