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Harrell v. State

February 09, 1999

TILLMAN HARRELL, JR. APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE



Before McMILLIN, P.j., Diaz, And King, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: McMILLIN, P.j.

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 03/07/1997

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. MIKE SMITH

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: PIKE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CONVICTED OF SALE OF COCAINE AND POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA

DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED - 2/9/99

MOTION FOR REHEARING FILED:

CERTIORARI FILED:

MANDATE ISSUED:

¶1. Tillman Harrell was convicted on both counts of a two-count indictment, one for sale of cocaine and one for possession of marijuana. Harrell does not contest his guilt on the marijuana possession count, but he has appealed his conviction for sale of cocaine, raising two issues. We find the issues to be without merit and affirm his conviction on this count.

¶2. The State's evidence showed that Harrell, after being approached by undercover narcotics agents, assisted the agents in purchasing a rock of crack cocaine. Harrell did so by locating a willing seller, taking the agents' money, delivering it to the seller, and bringing the cocaine back to the undercover agents.

¶3. In this appeal, Harrell does not dispute the evidence. Rather, he argues that his participation in the incident was insufficient as a matter of law to implicate him in a sale of cocaine since there was no proof that he profited from the transaction. Harrell concedes that existing case law does not support his argument, but asks the Court to reconsider the issue and hold that "for someone to be guilty of sale of cocaine they receive some type of remuneration and act in a capacity more than a mere middleman to the transaction."

ΒΆ4. The Mississippi Supreme Court has held that active participation in an illegal drug transaction is sufficient to support a conviction of sale of drugs without demonstrating that the participant received any benefit from the transaction. Turner v. State, 573 So. 2d 1340, 1342 (Miss. 1990); Minor v. State, 482 So. 2d 1107, 1112 (Miss. 1986). We decline Harrell's request to change the existing case law of the State on this subject. Harrell would have us make the prosecution's burden higher in a drug trafficking case by requiring proof that a defendant who unquestionably participated in the transaction derived some benefit from it. The incentives that lure individuals to participate in the drug trade may reasonably be understood to extend far beyond a motive to profit economically. One who facilitates a drug transaction as a favor for a criminally-inclined friend does ...


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