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State v. Angel

Court of Appeal of Iowa

July 24, 2013

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
TIMOTHY EUGENE ANGEL JR., Defendant-Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Bobbi M. Alpers, Judge.

Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence and the sentence imposed.

Eric D. Puryear and Eric S. Mail of Puryear Law, P.C., Davenport, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Thomas H. Miller, Assistant Attorney General, Michael J. Walton, County Attorney, and Dion Trowers, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

Considered by Eisenhauer, C.J., and Potterfield and Tabor, JJ.

EISENHAUER, C.J.

Timothy Eugene Angel Jr. appeals from his convictions, following a jury trial, for delivery of crack cocaine and failure to affix a drug tax stamp. Angel challenges the sufficiency of the evidence and the sentence imposed. We affirm.

I. Sufficiency of the Evidence.

Angel argues the State's evidence was insufficient to support his convictions. On count I, the jury was instructed the State had to prove Angel "did unlawfully deliver a controlled substance or act with, enter into a common scheme or design with, or conspire with one or more other persons to deliver a Schedule II controlled substance." On count II, the jury was instructed the State had to prove Angel "possessed ten or more dosage units of crack cocaine" without the appropriate tax stamp.

We review Angel's challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence for correction of errors at law. See State v. Hearn, 797 N.W.2d 577, 579 (Iowa 2011). The jury's verdict is binding if supported by substantial evidence. Id. Substantial evidence is evidence upon which a rational finder of fact could find a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. State v. Rohm, 609 N.W.2d 504, 509 (Iowa 2000). We view all the evidence in the record in the "light most favorable to the State, including legitimate inferences and presumptions which may fairly and reasonably be deduced from the evidence." State v. Leckington, 713 N.W.2d 208, 213 (Iowa 2006). We recognize the jury's freedom "to reject certain evidence, and credit other evidence." State v. Nitcher, 720 N.W.2d 547, 556 (Iowa 2006).

On September 6, 2011, the police apprehended Charlene Nelson in possession of a quarter ounce of crack cocaine. Due to her criminal history, she faced a potential life sentence in federal prison. In order to "get out of trouble, " Nelson agreed to act as a confidential source in a controlled buy from her supplier, Angel. Detective Morel supervised and recorded Nelson's call to Angel setting up a meeting to buy half an ounce of crack cocaine. This recording was played for the jury. Morel searched Nelson's person and vehicle to insure she did not have drugs or cash. Morel gave Nelson $600 in recorded bills and a digital recorder. Nelson drove to the meeting site—the street parking in front of her house. Several police officers conducted surveillance, including Officer Koepke. Koepke had attended junior high school with Angel.

While Nelson waited inside her vehicle, her boyfriend twice approached and argued with her. At one point, he passed a pop to her. After approximately ninety minutes, Angel arrived in a Yukon. Nelson testified she got into the Yukon and gave Angel $600 in exchange for crack cocaine. Nelson returned to her car and drove a few blocks to a prearranged meeting spot where Morel again searched Nelson and her vehicle. Morel testified Nelson did not have the $600 and she had a small plastic bag containing 14.85 grams of crack cocaine. No tax stamps were affixed to the drugs.

Angel drove away, and the surveillance officers followed. As the Yukon and the surveillance vehicles approached an apartment complex, Koepke entered the parking lot ahead of Angel and parked. Angel parked beside Koepke, who testified:

[Angel] was actually so close it was uncomfortably close. I just looked out my passenger window and his window was lined up with my window and I could see directly into his car . . . . I had to turn my radio down we were so close. I didn't want him to hear my radio, so I was advising I could see [Angel] look around and you could tell he was nervous and he was seeing cars pulling into that lot . . . . I knew that we had to ...

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