OF JUDGMENT: 01/23/2018
CHICKASAW COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON.
JOHN ANDREW GREGORY TRIAL JUDGE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY:
JUSTIN TAYLOR COOK
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
ALICIA MARIE AINSWORTH
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: BENJAMIN F. CREEKMORE
BARNES, C.J., WESTBROOKS AND LAWRENCE, JJ.
David Ware was indicted for the sale of a controlled
substance under Mississippi Code Annotated section
41-29-139(a) (Rev. 2009) in the Chickasaw County Circuit
Court. After a one-day trial, he was convicted and sentenced
to thirty years, with ten years suspended, in the custody of
the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC). Ware
appeals, claiming the trial court erred in failing to apply
the ameliorative amendments of section 41-29-139(b)(1)(A) for
his sentencing, which became effective in July 2014, prior to
his trial. Under the amended statute, Ware would have been
sentenced only to eight years. Ware also argues the trial
court erred in denying a cautionary jury instruction
regarding the testimony of confidential informants. Finding
no error, we affirm.
In May 2013, Chief Deputy Keith Roberson of the Chickasaw
County Sheriff's Office conducted an undercover drug buy
in Okolona, Mississippi, with confidential informant Allen
Hunter. Prior to meeting with Roberson, Hunter called Ware to
buy some crack cocaine. During the "pre-buy"
meeting with Roberson, Hunter was thoroughly searched, and a
video camera was hidden in his vehicle to capture the sale.
Roberson gave Hunter $60 to purchase the drugs.
At Ware's trial, the videotape of the transaction was
entered into evidence and played for the jury. Ware called
Hunter to come over because "Boss," the drug
dealer, was ready for them. Hunter picked Ware up at his
apartment. Ware got into the vehicle while on the phone with
Boss. Hunter drove to the Townhouse Apartments and gave Ware
the $60. Ware told Hunter to circle the block. Ware went into
the apartments. During this time, Hunter was speaking to
Roberson on an open-line cell phone in his vehicle. Hunter
returned to the apartments as Ware was walking out. Ware got
in the vehicle and attempted to hand Hunter the crack
cocaine. Hunter told Ware to hold it down in an attempt to
get the drugs on camera. Ware then handed Hunter three
unbagged rocks of crack cocaine. Hunter drove Ware back to
his apartment and returned to the post-buy location.
During the post-buy meeting, Hunter gave Roberson the drugs
and recording equipment. Roberson searched Hunter again and
paid him $100 for the work. Hunter testified that he did not
know Boss's name and that Boss would not sell drugs to
him because Boss did not trust him. Roberson sealed the drugs
in an evidence bag and sent the bag to the Tupelo Crime Lab.
A forensic analyst tested the drugs and determined the three
substances consisted of 0.49 grams of crack cocaine.