COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HARRISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 07/27/2012. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. LISA P. DODSON. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CONVICTED OF POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE WITH INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE AND SENTENCED AS A HABITUAL OFFENDER TO SIXTY YEARS IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS WITHOUT ELIGIBILITY FOR PAROLE OR PROBATION.
FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER, BY: JUSTIN TAYLOR COOK.
FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: BILLY L. GORE.
BEFORE LEE, C.J., BARNES AND FAIR, JJ. LEE, C.J., GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR. IRVING, P.J., CONCURS IN PART AND IN THE RESULT WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION.
¶1. Police discovered more than sixty grams of cocaine and $13,000 in cash in the home Christopher Jordan shared with his girlfriend and her children and grandchildren. The drugs were in common areas, but the money was more clearly connected to Jordan. The jury rejected Jordan's defense that the drugs were not his. On appeal he contends the trial court erred in refusing him a circumstantial evidence jury instruction. We find no error and affirm.
¶2. Following a controlled drug buy by a confidential informant, the Harrison County Sheriff's Department secured a search warrant for a home in Pass Christian. Inside, they found more than sixty grams of powder cocaine hidden inside a coffee maker. On the front porch, inside a Christmas decoration, they found an additional 2.9 grams of cocaine base, commonly known as crack cocaine. According to the State's witnesses, this is a large quantity of cocaine, consistent with distribution and not personal use.
¶3. When deputies entered, Jordan and his girlfriend were seated in the kitchen, a short distance from the coffee maker. Inside Jordan's wallet, found on his person, they discovered $4,000 in bills, packaged in increments of $1,000 wrapped in small rubber bands. In the master bedroom, they
found a binder containing another $9,000, also in $1,000 increments wrapped in small rubber bands, and a traffic ticket in Jordan's name. Investigators also found a man's clothing on the floor and in the closet. Jordan admitted to one of the investigators that he resided at the house, though his driver's license bore a different address. Finally, investigators found a small amount of crack cocaine in a matchbox in the bedroom of one of the adult children.
¶4. Jordan was prosecuted under a constructive-possession theory that tied his occupancy of the house to his more direct possession of a large amount of unexplained cash. The prosecution was also allowed to present evidence of Jordan's two prior drug offenses as evidence of his intent to distribute. Jordan was convicted and sentenced to sixty ...