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,
Earnest Lee Lockett,
Filed February 23, 1999
Ramsey County District Court
File No. K5-97-726
Michael A. Hatch, Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota St., St. Paul, MN 55101; and
Susan Gaertner, Ramsey County Attorney, Darrell C. Hill, Assistant County Attorney, 50 West Kellogg Blvd., Ste. 315, St. Paul, MN 55102 (for respondent)
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Lyonel Norris, Assistant State Public Defender 2829 University Ave. S.E., Ste. 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414-3230 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge, Short, Judge, and Klaphake, Judge.
Police arrested appellant Earnest Lockett for possession of a controlled substance after observing him with a crack pipe in one hand and a white substance in the other. Analysis confirmed that the substance was crack cocaine. Lockett, while agreeing in substance with the filed police report, claimed that the two women who had sold the crack to him had set him up. At trial, Lockett testified that, although he intended to purchase a drug from the two women, he thought he was purchasing either Prozac or marijuana. He claimed that the substance was placed in his open hand without him knowing what it was. Despite this testimony, the jury convicted Lockett of fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance in violation of Minn. Stat. § 152.025, subd. 2(1) (1996). Because the circumstantial evidence and reasonable inferences drawn from it are consistent with Lockett's knowing possession of a controlled substance and inconsistent with any other rational hypothesis, we affirm.
When reviewing a claim of insufficiency of evidence, this court is limited to deciding whether a jury could reasonably find a defendant guilty based upon the facts in the record and any reasonable inferences drawn therefrom. State v. Wallace, 558 N.W.2d 469, 472 (Minn. 1997). If the conviction is based on circumstantial evidence, it must appear that the reasonable inferences from the evidence are consistent with guilt and inconsistent with any other rational hypothesis. State v. Ostrem, 535 N.W.2d 916, 923 (Minn. 1995). The appellate court must assume that the jury believed the evidence supporting a conviction and disbelieved contradictory evidence supporting the defendant. State v. Scruggs, 421 N.W.2d 707, 713 (Minn. 1988).
For a charge of possession of a controlled substance, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant "consciously possessed, either physically or constructively, the substance and that defendant had actual knowledge of the nature of the substance." State v. Florine, 303 Minn. 103, 104, 226 N.W.2d 609, 610 (1975). Knowledge is most often inferred from the evidence, much like intent. State v. Mattson, 359 N.W.2d 616, 617 (Minn. 1984).
Lockett testified that he intended to purchase a drug from the two women for the purpose of "getting high." He had used crack two or three times before, and he knew what it looked like. At the time of purchase, he had a crack pipe in one hand and one of the women placed a white substance in his open palm. A police officer testified that he observed Lockett attempting to pack the white substance into the crack pipe. Based on these facts, the jury could reasonably infer that Lockett knew he was receiving crack cocaine. Indeed, the evidence does not rationally support Lockett's claim of lack of knowledge. See Ostrem, 535 N.W.2d at 923.