This opinion will be unpublished and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,
Armando Molina Alvarez,
Filed September 5, 2006
Freeborn County District Court
File No. KX-04-629
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, Thomas R. Ragatz, Assistant Attorney General, 1800 Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101-2134; and
Craig S. Nelson, Freeborn County Attorney, Courthouse, 411 South Broadway, Albert Lea, MN 56007 (for respondent)
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Lydia Villalva Lijó, Assistant Public Defender, 2221 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 425, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge; Randall, Judge; and Peterson, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
On appeal from his conviction of second-degree controlled substance offense, appellant Armando Molina Alvarez argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. We affirm.
D E C I S I O N
considering a claim of insufficient evidence, this court’s review is limited to
a careful assessment of the record to determine whether “a jury could
reasonably find the defendant guilty, given the facts in evidence and the
legitimate inferences which could be drawn from those facts.” State
v. Robinson, 604 N.W.2d 355, 365-66 (
Here, appellant sold an
informant cocaine during a controlled buy supervised by Freeborn County Deputy
Corey Farris. Appellant argues that
because Farris did not use adequate controlled-buy safeguards to corroborate
the informant’s information, the evidence was insufficient to support the
jury’s verdict. In support of his
argument, appellant maintains that Farris failed to search the informant prior
to the drug purchase. But Farris explained
that he did not search the informant before the buy because she was returning
to her home, where the buy would occur.
Appellant also argues that
the evidence was insufficient to convict him because the informant’s testimony
was of “questionable reliability.” Appellant
argues that the informant’s testimony was not credible because she received
compensation for working as an informant for the police. But “weighing the credibility of witnesses is
the exclusive function of the jury.” State v. Pieschke, 295 N.W.2d 580, 584 (
Additionally, appellant relies on an unpublished opinion to argue that failure to implement safeguards of a controlled buy constitutes grounds for reversing his conviction. But appellant’s reliance on unpublished authority is not a persuasive argument for this court. See Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3(c) (2004) (“Unpublished opinions of the Court of Appeals are not precedential.”); Vlahos v. R&I Constr. of Bloomington, Inc., 676 N.W.2d 672, 676 n.3 (Minn. 2004) (stating district court erred “both as a matter of law and as a matter of practice” by relying on an unpublished opinion).
“A person is guilty of controlled substance crime in the second degree if: (1) on one or more occasions within a 90-day period the person unlawfully sells one or more mixtures of a total weight of three grams or more containing cocaine[.]” Minn. Stat. § 152.022, subd. 1(1) (2002). Here, the evidence indicates that (1) Farris had used the informant approximately 20 times, finding her honest and straightforward; (2) in late May 2004, the informant called a man she knew as “Armando” and indicated that she wanted to buy an “eight-ball” from him; (3) the informant notified Farris that the man would come to her house, possibly in a black car; (4) Farris set up the controlled buy on June 1, 2004, providing the informant a digital recorder to wear during the transaction; (4) shortly thereafter, Farris watched a man he identified as appellant arrive at informant’s residence in a black car; (5) the informant identified appellant as the man who entered her house and sold her four baggies of powder; (6) the phrase “eight-ball” is discernable on the recording of the sale; and (7) the bags contained a total of 4.5 grams of cocaine. Viewing this evidence in the light most favorable to the conviction, we conclude that the evidence was sufficient to support appellant’s conviction of second-degree controlled substance crime.