Appeal from Jefferson Circuit Court. (CC-94-0743). Michael McCormick, TRIAL JUDGE.
Released for Publication March 8, 1996.
Cobb, Judge. All the Judges concur.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cobb
The appellant, Theordory Julius Hemphill, was convicted of distribution of crack cocaine, a violation of § 13A-12-211, Ala.Code 1975. His two-year sentence was suspended, but he was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment pursuant to §§ 13A-12-250 and -270, Ala.Code 1975. He raises three issues.
The appellant contends that the trial court erred by refusing to give the following charge to the jury: "Defendant who acts as the buyer's agent (also known as procuring agent) is not guilty of unlawfully 'selling' controlled substances." The appellant also contends that the trial court erred by refusing to present a special verdict form to the jury stating the following or containing similar language: "We the jury find the defendant guilty of distribution of controlled substances by furnishing or delivering." The appellant asserts that this verdict form has been used in criminal cases in the Jefferson Circuit Court and that pursuant to Ex parte Mutrie, 618 So. 2d 150 (Ala. 1993), the use of this verdict form does not permit any sentence enhancement under §§ 13A-12-250 and -270, Ala. Code 1975, because Mutrie held that these enhancement provisions could be applied only to a conviction for the sale of a controlled substance.
"A trial court has broad discretion in formulating its jury instructions, providing they are an accurate reflection of the law and facts of the case. Coon v. State, 494 So. 2d 184 (Ala.Cr.App. 1986). When requested charges are either fairly and substantially covered by the trial Judge's oral charge or are confusing, misleading, ungrammatical, not predicated on a consideration of the evidence, argumentative, abstract, or a misstatement of the law, the trial Judge may properly refuse to give such charges. Ex parte Wilhite, 485 So. 2d 787 (Ala. 1986)."
Ward v. State, 610 So. 2d 1190, 1194 (Ala.Cr.App. 1992) (emphasis added); see Fox v. State, [Ms. CR-93-0315, September 30, 1994] So. 2d (Ala.Cr.App. 1994) ("The court committed no error in refusing to instruct the jury on criminally negligent homicide because the evidence did not support such an instruction."); Geckles v. State, 440 So. 2d 1189, 1191 (Ala.Cr.App. 1983) ("Where there is no evidence to support the defense of entrapment, it is not error to refuse to charge the jury on the defense of entrapment.").
The trial court correctly ruled that the evidence presented in this case does not support this instruction. Officer Bobby H. Butler testified that he was assigned to the Birmingham Police Department's undercover narcotics buying operation as an undercover operator. His function was to try to purchase narcotics from individuals selling drugs in Birmingham. On the date of the incident involving the appellant, Butler drove to the end of a dead-end street where he had made drug buys before. He observed the appellant and a codefendant "hanging out in front of the apartments" on the dead-end street. R. 21. Butler testified that "I looked over at them. As soon as they saw me they came to my car and asked me what I was looking for. . . . I told them a 20-cent piece, which is slang for $20 worth of crack cocaine." R. 22, 26. The two instructed Butler to follow them as they walked toward apartment number 6440. The appellant went inside apartment 6440 but the codefendant instructed Butler to follow him to the rear of apartment 6440. The codefendant told Butler to park "around back" in the future to avoid a possible "hassle" by the police. This was a blatant reference to any future occasions when Butler seeks to buy drugs. According to Butler, the appellant came out of apartment 6440 and gave Butler a piece of crack cocaine. Butler paid the appellant with a marked $20 bill. Butler went back to his car and initiated arrest proceedings. Butler arrested the appellant inside apartment 6440 a few minutes later. Butler stated that he did not find the marked $20 bill on the appellant at the time of the arrest and that no one else was inside apartment 6440 when Butler arrived.
The appellant testified that on the day of his arrest he was visiting his cousin, who lives in apartment 6438. He stated that he was "hanging out" on the porch with the codefendant when Butler drove up and held up 10 fingers. This gesture, according to the appellant, indicated that Butler wanted to buy $10 worth of some drug. The appellant "figured" Butler wanted crack cocaine because the appellant had been at his cousin's house enough to know what was "going on." The appellant testified that he knew that a man called "Detroit" sold drugs out of apartment 6440. The appellant stated he went to apartment 6440 and was given an envelope by Detroit to deliver to Butler. The appellant delivered the envelope to Butler and Butler gave the appellant $20 dollars, which the appellant says he immediately delivered to Detroit. According to the appellant, he received nothing for his participation in the transaction. He stated that he was alone at the time of his arrest because everyone else, including Detroit, had run away before the police entered apartment 6440.
Distribution of cocaine includes selling, furnishing, or delivering cocaine. § 13A-12-211(a), Ala. Code 1975. Ex parte Mutrie, 618 So. 2d 150 (Ala. 1993), held that a sentence could be enhanced under § 13A-12-250 and -270 only where a sale of illegal drugs is the basis for the conviction. Mutrie specifically prohibits enhancement where the defendant is guilty of furnishing a controlled substance in the capacity of the buyer's agent.
Butler's testimony clearly established that the appellant was involved in a sale of cocaine. The appellant failed to establish that Butler's initial contact placed the appellant in the role of Butler's "procuring agent." All the testimony, including the appellant's, regarding the appellant's actions were consistent with his being the seller's agent. The evidence did not support the charge requested by the appellant.
The appellant was outside the apartment used by Detroit to sell cocaine when Butler drove up. The appellant was with the codefendant, whose behavior, according to testimony, indicated that he was in the business of selling cocaine at this location. The appellant testified that he knew that Butler wanted to buy drugs as soon as he drove up. The appellant accompanied the codefendant to Butler's car. When the codefendant determined exactly the amount of drugs Butler wanted, the appellant, without prompting from any source, went inside apartment 6440 where he said Detroit gave him an envelope to give to Butler in exchange for $20. Meanwhile, the codefendant accompanied Butler to a safe location behind apartment 6440 to wait on the appellant to bring the drugs. The appellant joined them, bringing with him the ...