OF JUDGMENT: 05/04/2016
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JOSEPH H. LOPER JR.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY:
HUNTER NOLAN AIKENS
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
JOSEPH SCOTT HEMLEBEN
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: DOUG EVANS
LEE, C.J., ISHEE AND FAIR, JJ.
John Gale was convicted of the sale of less than two grams of
methamphetamine to a confidential informant and sentenced to
eight years' imprisonment. The jury acquitted Gale of two
other drug sale counts relating to a morphine pill and a
Xanax (alprazolam) pill he was alleged to have sold at the
same time. On appeal, Gale contends that the jury should have
received a cautionary instruction on the testimony of
confidential informants, and that the verdict was against the
overwhelming weight of the evidence. We find no error and
Weight of the Evidence
Though presented as Gale's second issue, we will address
this contention first to avoid repetition. Gale contends that
his conviction was against the overwhelming weight of the
A new trial based on the weight of the evidence should be
granted "only in exceptional cases in which the evidence
preponderates heavily against the verdict." Bush v.
State, 895 So.2d 836, 844 (¶18) (Miss. 2005)
(citation omitted). "[T]he evidence must be viewed in
the light most favorable to the verdict[.]" Jenkins
v. State, 131 So.3d 544, 551 (¶23) (Miss. 2013).
And because the motion for a new trial is entrusted to the
circuit judge, who had a firsthand view of the trial,
"reversal is warranted only if the trial court abused
its discretion in denying [the] motion for a new trial."
Waits v. State, 119 So.3d 1024, 1028 (¶13)
Here, the State's evidence consisted largely of the
testimony of a confidential informant, but it was also
corroborated by the informant's wife and by video and
audio recordings made by a hidden camera, which was disguised
as a button on the informant's shirt. Prior to the buy,
investigators from the sheriff's department met the
informant and his wife. The informant and his wife were
searched (the informant more thoroughly than the wife, as no
female officer was available), as well as their vehicle, and
then the ...