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Wallace v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

September 24, 2013

SAM WEBSTER WALLACE A/K/A SAM WALLACE A/K/A SAMUEL W. WALACE A/K/A SAMUEL W. WALLACE A/K/A SAM WEST WALLACE A/K/A SAM W. WALLACE, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: DESOTO COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 01/03/2012. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. GERALD W. CHATHAM SR. TRIAL COURT CONVICTED OF SELLING COCAINE AND SENTENCED AS A HABITUAL OFFENDER TO LIFE IMPRISONMENT IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS.

FOR APPELLANT: MOLLIE MARIE MCMILLIN.

FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: JEFFREY A. KLINGFUSS.

BEFORE LEE, C.J., ROBERTS AND CARLTON, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, ISHEE, CARLTON, MAXWELL, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 76

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

ROBERTS, J.

¶1. Following a jury trial in the DeSoto County Circuit Court, Sam Wallace was convicted of one count of selling cocaine to a confidential informant. Due to his status as a habitual offender, Wallace was sentenced to serve life imprisonment in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC). Wallace's post-trial motions were denied. Subsequently, he filed the current appeal.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. On January 14, 2010, a DeSoto County grand jury indicted Wallace on one count of selling cocaine in violation of Mississippi Code Annotated section 41-29-139(a)(1) (Supp. 2012). Wallace's indictment was later amended to reflect his habitual offender status pursuant to Mississippi Code Annotated section 99-19-83 (Rev. 2007). Wallace's jury trial began on December 12, 2011, and ended the following day, with the jury finding Wallace guilty of the charge in his indictment. Wallace's sentencing hearing took place on January 3, 2012, and the circuit court sentenced Wallace, as a habitual offender, to life imprisonment in the custody of the MDOC.

¶3. At trial, the State presented the testimony of Southaven Police Department Sergeant Tim Wood. Sergeant Wood testified that on August 27, 2009, a confidential informant (CI) contacted the police department with information that the CI could buy cocaine from a man named " Sam." This man was later identified as Sam Wallace, the defendant. The CI came to the police department, where he was searched, given $100 to use as payment for the drugs, and outfitted with audio and video surveillance equipment. A police officer, using an undercover vehicle, drove the CI to meet Wallace. Sergeant Wood also testified that once the CI was dropped off at the location, three officers conducted physical surveillance of the CI. Following the exchange, the CI returned to the undercover vehicle and delivered a substance. Rob Reid, a forensic scientist at the Mississippi Crime Laboratory, testified at trial about the substance submitted to him from the transaction for testing. He identified it as .9 grams of cocaine.

¶4. In addition to Sergeant Wood's testimony, the State also presented the testimony of the CI. The CI testified that he agreed to help because he had been charged with possession of marijuana and had hoped to get help in reducing or eliminating his charge. The CI explained that

Page 77

he knew Wallace through a friend who bought drugs from him on another occasion. The CI testified that he called Wallace to buy cocaine from him, and they were to meet at a gas station near the Stateline Road and Highway 51 intersection. After waiting for awhile, the CI met Wallace inside the gas station to complete the transaction. The CI testified that he gave Wallace $100 in exchange for cocaine. The CI stated that he then turned over the cocaine to the police officers. Next, Lieutenant Jordan Jones testified for the State. Lieutenant Jones stated that there was not live video feed of the transaction, but that there was live audio feed as it was ...


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