This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Paul Anthony Linson,
Filed March 22, 2005
Ramsey County District Court
File No. K2-03-2962
Mike Hatch, State Attorney General, 1800 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101; and
Susan Gaertner, Ramsey County Attorney, Mark Nathan Lystig, Assistant Ramsey County Attorney, 50 West Kellogg Boulevard, Suite 315, St. Paul, MN 55102 (for respondent)
John Stuart, State Public Defender, Theodora Gaitas, Assistant State Public Defender, 2221 University Avenue SE, Suite 425, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Randall, Presiding Judge, Minge, Judge, and Wright, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
On appeal from conviction of third-degree controlled substance crime, appellant argues that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to sustain the guilty verdict. Appellant claims the conviction was based only on the undercover officer’s uncorroborated interpretation of what occurred. We affirm.
On August 7, 2003, Officer Adam Siegfried was working undercover in downtown St. Paul. Dressed in old clothing to look like a “street person,” Officer Siegfried drove an old car to the vicinity of the Dorothy Day Center, an area with a lot of foot traffic and alleged drug activity. As he drove around the Dorothy Day Center, Officer Siegfried made eye-contact with appellant Paul Linson. Officer Siegfried pulled over a few feet from appellant, and appellant approached the vehicle and asked, “what do you want.” Officer Siegfried asked appellant if he was “working,” which, according to Siegfried, is street slang for “do you have any narcotics.” Appellant responded by saying “$100.” Officer Siegfried then told appellant he needed to get the money and that he would be right back.
Officer Siegfried slowly drove around the block and returned to the same area about five minutes later. Appellant motioned for Officer Siegfried to park the car, and then whistled to a man on a bicycle. Officer Siegfried observed appellant hand something to the man on the bicycle, later identified as Gregory Baker, and overheard appellant say “$100.” Baker then approached Siegfried’s vehicle and said, “100 bucks.” Officer Siegfried showed Baker the $100, and Baker displayed the suspected crack cocaine. After the two exchanged items, Officer Siegfried watched Baker return to appellant and hand him the money.
As Officer Siegfried drove away, he signaled two other officers that the deal was complete. The officers immediately arrived at the scene and yelled at appellant and Baker to stop and get down on the ground. But before appellant got down on the ground, Officer William Mayavski observed appellant throw two items towards the car next to him. Officer Mayavski retrieved the items, which turned out to be a substance resembling crack cocaine, and the $100 that Officer Siegfried had used to purchase the controlled substance. The controlled substance tested positive for cocaine. Appellant was subsequently charged with third-degree controlled substance crime.
Following a trial, a jury found appellant guilty of third-degree controlled substance crime (sale of cocaine), in violation of Minn. Stat. § 152.023, subd. 1(1) (2002). Appellant was sentenced to the presumptive sentence of 33 months in prison. This appeal followed.
D E C I S I O N
Appellant argues that his conviction should be reversed, claiming that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to sustain the guilty verdict. In considering a claim of insufficient evidence, this court’s review is limited to a painstaking analysis of the record to determine whether the evidence, when viewed in the light most favorable to the conviction, is sufficient to allow the jurors to reach the verdict they did. State v. Webb, 440 N.W.2d 426, 430 (Minn. 1989). The reviewing court must assume the jury believed the state’s witnesses and disbelieved any evidence to the contrary. State v. Moore, 438 N.W.2d 101, 108 (Minn. 1989). The reviewing court will not disturb the verdict if the jury, acting with due regard for the presumption of innocence and the requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, could reasonably conclude the defendant was guilty of the charged offense. State v. Alton, 432 N.W.2d 754, 756 (Minn. 1988).
Minn. Stat. § 152.023, subd. 1(1) (2002), provides that: “A person is guilty of controlled substance crime in the third degree if: (1) the person unlawfully sells one or more mixtures containing a narcotic drug.” Here, Officer Siegfried testified at trial that he arranged to buy crack cocaine from appellant. Officer Siegfried testified that he observed appellant hand something to Baker, and overheard appellant say, “$100.” According to Officer Siegfried, Baker then approached him and the transaction was completed. Officer Siegfried further testified that he watched as Baker went back to appellant and handed him the money. Although the sale of narcotics was arranged using “street lingo,” the evidence and testimony supports Officer Siegfried’s assertion that he arranged to buy $100 worth of crack cocaine from appellant.
Appellant contends that Officer Siegfried’s testimony was insufficient to sustain the conviction and that the state should have offered corroborating evidence such as a taped recording of the transaction or fingerprints on the baggies that appellant threw away immediately before he was arrested. Appellant is not persuasive. First, convictions may rest upon the testimony of a single credible witness. See State v. Bliss, 457 N.W.2d 385, 390 (Minn. 1990). Importantly, there is far more on the record than just Officer Siegfried’s testimony. Officer Mayavski testified that before appellant hit the ground per his instruction, he saw appellant throw two items toward a car that was parked nearby. Mayavski testified he picked up the two items, one of which was crack, and the other was the identifiable buy money! This testimony independently corroborates the testimony of Officer Siegfried. The issue then becomes a pure credibility determination. The jury found both officers’ testimony to be credible, and convicted appellant of the charged offense. See State v. Daniels, 361 N.W.2d 819, 826 (Minn. 1985) (stating that it is the jury’s role to determine the credibility and weight given to a witness’s testimony). A careful review of the record indicates sufficient evidence for a jury to reasonably conclude that appellant was guilty of the charged offense.