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State v. Wilson

Supreme Court of Idaho

March 28, 2019

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
RICHARD ALAN WILSON, aka RICHARD BURRELL, RICHIE B. WILSON, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the District Court of the Third Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Canyon County. Hon. James C. Morfitt, District Judge.

         The judgment of the district court is affirmed.

          Eric Don Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for Appellant. Sally J. Cooley argued.

          Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Idaho Attorney General, Boise, for Respondent. Jeffery D. Nye argued.

          MOELLER, JUSTICE

         Following a jury trial, Richard Wilson was convicted of two counts of aiding and abetting trafficking in methamphetamine. He now appeals on the grounds that the State failed to present sufficient evidence to support either conviction. For the reasons stated, we affirm.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On April 7, 2016, an undercover police officer arranged to meet Regina Jones ("Jones") in a shopping center parking lot to purchase two ounces of methamphetamine. Jones had contacted the officer earlier that day offering to sell one ounce of methamphetamine for $650 or two ounces for $1200. The officer agreed to buy two ounces and made arrangements to complete the sale at a public location around 6 p.m. Jones informed the officer she would be in a white Ford Expedition with the front hood open. When the officer arrived, he located the Expedition and parked near it. Jones was in the driver's seat of the Expedition, and a man-later identified as Richard Wilson ("Wilson")-was standing alongside it near the opened hood of the vehicle. The officer texted Jones to tell her that he had arrived and described the car he was in. Jones then exited the Expedition and entered the officer's car to complete the sale. After some conversation, Jones handed the officer a plastic bag containing two smaller plastic bags, each containing a white crystal substance, and the officer gave Jones $1200 cash. The substance was later identified as methamphetamine.

         Meanwhile, Wilson had closed the hood and re-entered the Expedition on the passenger side. Shortly after the exchange of the methamphetamine and the cash, Jones exited the officer's vehicle. The officer returned to the police station to verify the substance and weigh the contents of the bags received from Jones. The small bags each contained just under one ounce[1] of methamphetamine: 27.76 grams and 27.89 grams, respectively.

         Twenty days later, on April 27, 2016, Jones and the undercover officer met again to complete another methamphetamine sale. This time Jones agreed to sell one ounce for $600 cash. Once again, Jones and the officer met in a public place, this time a restaurant parking lot, and Wilson accompanied Jones. When they arrived, Wilson, who was driving, exited the Nissan, opened the hood, and waited outside. The officer then texted Jones, telling her that he was parked nearby. Jones exited the car and entered the officer's vehicle. After some conversation, Jones gave the officer a clear plastic bag containing a white crystal substance and the officer gave Jones $620 in pre-marked bills.[2] Jones then exited the vehicle. While Jones was in the officer's car, Wilson had lowered the hood on the Nissan and re-entered it on the driver's side. Both parties left the scene. The officer again returned to the police station to weigh and identify the substance received from Jones. The bag weighed 25.91 grams and the substance it contained was positively identified as methamphetamine.

         Later that day another officer, responding to a call from dispatch, pulled over the Nissan that Wilson and Jones were driving. During the stop, the officer searched Wilson, the driver of the vehicle, and discovered $600 cash in his front pants pocket. The serial numbers on the bills obtained from Wilson's pocket matched the serial numbers of the bills given to Jones by the undercover officer earlier that day. This money was seized by the officer and taken into evidence. Several days later, on May 2, 2016, Wilson contacted the police department about retrieving the money, which he claimed he had received from work and family members.

         Thereafter, Wilson was charged with two counts of aiding and abetting Jones in trafficking methamphetamine in violation of Idaho Code sections 18-204 and 37-2732B(a)(4): one count for the April 7th sale (Count I) and one count for the April 27th sale (Count II). A jury determined that Wilson was guilty of both counts and he was later sentenced to concurrent unified sentences of ten years, with three years fixed, and ordered to pay restitution and mandatory minimum fines of $10, 000 per count. Wilson appeals.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         "This Court will uphold a judgment of conviction entered upon a jury verdict so long as there is substantial evidence upon which a trier of fact could conclude that the prosecution proved all essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt." State v. Kralovec, 161 Idaho 569, 572, 388 P.3d 583, 586 (2017) (internal quotations and citation omitted). "Evidence is substantial if a reasonable trier of fact would accept it and rely upon it in determining whether a disputed point of fact has been proven." State v. Smith, 161 Idaho 782, 790, 391 P.3d 1252, 1260 (2017) (internal quotations and citation omitted).

On appeal, where a defendant stands convicted, the evidence is viewed in the light most favorable to the prosecution and the reviewing court is precluded from substituting its judgment for that of the jury as to the credibility of witnesses, the weight of the ...

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