This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Kenneth Andrew Thompson,
Filed January 18, 2000
Ramsey County District Court
Mike Hatch, Minnesota Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55103; and
Susan Gaertner, Ramsey County Attorney, Darrell C. Hill, Assistant County Attorney Andrea R. Rogers, Certified Student Attorney, 50 West Kellogg Blvd., Suite 315, St. Paul, MN 55102 (for respondent)
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Theodora Gaitas, Assistant Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge, Amundson, Judge, and Harten, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Appellant challenges his convictions for fifth-degree possession of cocaine pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 152.025, subd. 2(1), and third-degree possession of cocaine with intent to sell pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 152.023, subd. 1(1), arguing that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convitions.
In response to a dispatch call, officers Jason Brodt and Jason Brubaker pulled up behind a car parked on a city street. As the two occupants simultaneously opened the car doors, the officers illuminated the car with a spotlight. Officer Brodt observed the front seat passenger, later identified as Kenneth Thompson, reach down with his right hand and toss an object underneath the car. Officer Brodt approached Thompson and did a pat down search for weapons. While Officer Brodt did not find any weapons on Thompson, he did discover a wallet containing $561 and a digital pager.
Officer Brubaker testified that when the occupants of the vehicle opened the car doors, he heard something hit the ground near the car, but did not see the driver, Cherly Schotl, discard anything. Officer Brubaker then approached the vehicle and explained the purpose of the stop, he asked if she had anything illegal on her person. Schotl then consented to a pat-down search, but as Officer Brubaker began the search, Schotl struggled and took a metal object from her waistband and threw it. Later, both the metal object Schotl threw, a crack pipe, and the object tossed under the car, a magnetic key box containing eight to twelve rocks of what appeared to be crack cocaine, were recovered by the officers. The rocks tested positive for cocaine.
At trial, the state produced an expert to testify about the amount of crack cocaine in Thompson’s possession. The expert explained that the size of the rock of crack cocaine is determinative of the amount paid for the rock, and that the rocks recovered in this case were $10 to $20 rocks. The expert also stated that when he made undercover purchases, the crack cocaine was wrapped, not like the loose rocks found in the key case. He also testified that he had never arrested a street level user with this quantity of cocaine and that in his experience, the amount of cocaine, the cash on Thompson, and the digital pager all indicated Thompson was a street-level dealer.
D E C I S I O N
In reviewing the sufficiency of evidence of a conviction, an appellate court does not retry the facts. Rather, this court is limited to "a painstaking analysis of the record to determine whether the evidence, when viewed in a light most favorable to the conviction, was sufficient to permit the [jurors] to reach the verdict [they] did." State v. Webb, 440 N.W.2d 426, 430 (Minn. 1989) (citation omitted). This court must assume the "jury believed the state’s witnesses and disbelieved any evidence to the contrary." State v. Spaeth, 552 N.W.2d 187, 192 (Minn. 1996).
Evidence is sufficient to support a conviction if, given the facts in the record, a jury could reasonably find the defendant committed the charged offenses. State v. Wilson, 535 N.W.2d 597, 605 (Minn. 1995). Further, where the facts and legitimate inferences drawn from the facts could reasonably lead the factfinder to conclude that a defendant is guilty, the conviction should not be disturbed. State v. Merrill, 274 N.W.2d 99, 111 (Minn. 1978).
Thompson argues that he should not be convicted of possession with intent to sell because the officers made inconsistent statements regarding the visibility at the time of the stop. Additionally, Thompson argues that because he had no wrappers in the car, he cannot reasonably be convicted of possession with intent to sell. Finally, Thompson argues that because the "high" achieved from cocaine use wears off quickly, a regular user could have as much cocaine on his person, as was found on Thompson, simply to maintain his high, rather than for the purpose of dealing.
In addition to Thompson’s arguments, the jury heard expert testimony that much of the evidence indicated that Thompson was a cocaine dealer. Because we view the evidence in the light most favorable to the conviction, we conclude that Thompson’s arguments about inconsistent statements made by the officers regarding sufficient visibility, the lack of wrappers for distributing the cocaine, and his comments regarding how much cocaine it takes for a user to get "high" are insufficient to support his request for a reversal. The jury could reasonably find that Thompson committed the crimes for which he was convicted, therefore, we will not overturn the conviction.