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Thruman v. State

December 30, 1998

ERIC THURMAN APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE



Before Thomas, P.j., Coleman, And Hinkebein, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hinkebein, J., For The Court:

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/02/1997

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. ROBERT G. EVANS

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: SMITH COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

DISTRICT ATTORNEY: DEWITT FORTENBERRY

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: APPELLANT SENTENCED TO SERVE

TWELVE YEARS IN THE CUSTODY OF

THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF

¶1. Eric Thurman was convicted in the Smith County Circuit Court for the sale of cocaine. For his offense, Thurman was sentenced to a term of twelve years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Aggrieved by his conviction, Thurman appeals to this Court on the following grounds: I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO REQUIRE RECUSAL OF THE ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY. II. THE PROSECUTION'S EVIDENCE WAS INSUFFICIENT TO SUSTAIN A CONVICTION. Holding these assignments of error to be without merit, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court. FACTS

¶2. In 1993, Deputy Brian Bailey, a deputy with the Simpson County Sheriff's Department, was assigned to a narcotics task force covering Simpson and Smith Counties operating to apprehend participants in the local drug trade. On the particular day in question, Deputy Bailey wired confidential informant Richard Forrest with an electronic body microphone, searched both Forrest and his car to ensure against the presence of narcotics, provided Forrest with marked currency, and then instructed him to drive into Raleigh, Mississippi for the purpose of buying from known dealers.

¶3. Shortly after being dispatched, Forrest observed Thurman walking down a city street, pulled his car alongside his acquaintance, and inquired as to whether he might purchase cocaine. Thurman joined the informant in the automobile, directed him toward a more secure location, and upon arriving, exchanged several rocks of crack cocaine for the money Deputy Bailey had previously supplied. Shortly thereafter, Forrest returned Thurman to his original destination and handed the evidence over to Deputy Bailey.

ΒΆ4. At trial, the prosecution presented the testimony of both Forrest and Deputy Bailey. While Forrest recalled the exchange and identified Thurman as the source of the cocaine, Deputy Bailey described the transaction as he heard it via the microphone/recording device. Then the jurors heard for themselves the taped conversation to which Bailey had listened. Although Thurman vigorously attacked Forrest's credibility and, in fact, presented testimony from family members that they could not recognize his voice on Deputy Bailey's ...


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