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Stewart v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

January 21, 2014

Alfred STEWART, Jr. a/k/a Alfred Lee Stewart, Jr. a/k/a Alfred L. Stewart a/k/a Alfred Stewart, Appellant
v.
STATE of Mississippi, Appellee.

Office of State Public Defender by George T. Holmes, Mollie Marie McMillin, attorneys for appellant.

Office of the Attorney General by Jeffrey A. Klingfuss, attorney for appellee.

Page 560

Before GRIFFIS, P.J., ISHEE and CARLTON, JJ.

CARLTON, J.

¶ 1. Alfred Stewart Jr. was convicted of sale of cocaine in the Lauderdale County Circuit Court and sentenced to twelve years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), with nine years suspended, followed by five years of post-release supervision. The trial court also ordered Stewart to pay a $5,000 fine and court costs. Stewart appeals his conviction and sentence. Finding no arguable appellate issues in this case, and finding that the trial court's judgment of conviction is supported by the record, we affirm Stewart's conviction and sentence.[1]

FACTS

¶ 2. On November 17, 2009, Brandon Johnson contacted Officer Christopher Scott, a police officer with the Meridian Police Department assigned to the East Mississippi Drug Task Force, with information about a potential drug sale. Johnson had worked for the Task Force before as a confidential informant and was paid to make drug purchases. Officer Scott testified that Johnson informed him that he had contacted " BC, Boo Cooley," and arranged to buy cocaine from him. Officer Scott knew " Cooley" to be Alfred Stewart.

¶ 3. Johnson went to the Task Force office, where officers searched him. Officer Scott testified that he conducted the search of Johnson, and he only required Johnson to remove his shirt. He also searched Johnson's pants' pocket and waistband.

¶ 4. The officers called Stewart and ordered $100 worth of cocaine. Officer Scott outfitted Johnson with a covert camera and an electronic listening device. The officers also searched Johnson's car and installed an additional electronic listening device in the car.

¶ 5. The officers gave Johnson $100 in $20 bills. Johnson originally planned to meet Stewart at the Walmart on Highway 19 in Meridian. However, during the drive to Walmart, Stewart changed the meeting location, and Johnson instead met Stewart at the Quiznos near the Walmart. Johnson stopped once during his drive, at the request of police officers, so that he could adjust some of the equipment installed in his car.

¶ 6. Once Johnson arrived at Quiznos, he waited outside of his car for a few minutes before Stewart arrived. The video taken of the transaction between Johnson and Stewart shows Johnson walking up to Stewart's car window, and the two then conversing. Counsel for Stewart asserts that the video does not reveal anything changing hands.

¶ 7. After Johnson left his meeting with Stewart, he drove to meet the police officers at the Task Force office. Officers contacted Johnson and advised him to slow down so that he did not arrive at the office before them, explaining that they needed to take immediate control of the drugs. Johnson testified that he still arrived at the Task Force about ten minutes before the officers arrived. When the officers arrived, Johnson turned over the cocaine.

¶ 8. Officer Scott admitted at trial that he failed to search Johnson's groin area prior to his meeting with Stewart. Officer Scott also admitted that it was possible that Johnson could have hidden the ...


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