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McDougle v. State of Ms

August 04, 1998

MCDOUGLE
v.
STATE OF MS



Before Thomas, P.j., Diaz, And Herring, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Herring, J

JOSEPH MCDOUGLE, APPELLANT v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 11/27/95

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. LAMAR PICKARD

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: COPIAH COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CONSPIRACY: SENTENCED TO SERVE A TERM OF 3 YRS IN THE MDOC

DISPOSITION REVERSED AND RENDERED - 8/4/98

¶1. This case comes to us from the Circuit Court of Copiah County where Joseph McDougle was convicted of the crime of conspiracy to sell a controlled substance. McDougle challenges his conviction on two grounds. First, he claims that there was insufficient evidence of a conspiracy. Second, he asserts that the trial court committed reversible error in admitting certain audio tapes into evidence when those tapes contained information of other crimes or bad acts committed by McDougle. We have examined both of these issues, and finding error, we reverse and render.

A. THE FACTS

¶2. During the early months of 1995, the Capital City Metro Narcotics Task Force turned its attention to drug activity in Hazelhurst, Mississippi. Pursuant to its investigations, the authorities enlisted the aid of Ronald Reece as a paid confidential informant. At the time, Reece was on probation for an earlier conviction of aggravated assault. Reece had worked with law enforcement personnel in the past and was familiar with persons involved in the drug trade in Copiah County.

¶3. Ron Crew, an agent with the Task Force, coordinated Reece's undercover activity. Reece was outfitted with an electronic transmitter, and after a search of his automobile and person, drove to the apartment of Terry Owens. Reece informed Owens that he was in need of a supply of marijuana and wanted to know where he could find some. Owens informed Reece that McDougle, the Appellant, might be able to supply him with the marijuana. Reece asked Owens to take him to McDougle, but for some reason Owens was not willing to make the trip. Instead, Owens asked his friend Walter Wansley, who was present in his apartment, if he would take Reece to see McDougle. Wansley agreed, and he left with Reece to travel to the apartment which McDougle was known to frequent.

¶4. Both Reece and Wansley testified that they discussed the purpose of the trip to the apartment where McDougle could be found. In other words, Wansley admitted that he knew why he was accompanying Reece to see McDougle. Upon arrival at the apartment complex, Wansley got out of Reece's automobile and told him to wait. Wansley then went to an apartment, knocked on the door, and was invited in by McDougle's female companion, who took Wansley to McDougle. Wansley informed McDougle that he had a man outside who wanted to purchase some marijuana. McDougle responded that he did not have any marijuana at that time, but he nevertheless went outside to meet Reece.

ΒΆ5. Once McDougle was outside, Reece approached him, and Wansley said "that is the guy." Wansley then faded into the background, and Reece began negotiating with McDougle for the purchase of a quantity of marijuana. McDougle quoted him a price of "a bill twenty," which, according to Agent Crew, is drug parlance for $120. Reece agreed on this price, but McDougle told him that he could not get the marijuana for him until the next day. Reece was satisfied with ...


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