Larry Donnell Brown v. The State of Texas--Appeal from 282nd District Court of Dallas County

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Brown-DL v. State /**/

IN THE

TENTH COURT OF APPEALS

 

No. 10-95-166-CR

 

LARRY DONNELL BROWN,

Appellant

v.

 

THE STATE OF TEXAS,

Appellee

 

From the 282nd District Court

Dallas County, Texas

Trial Court # F94-01995-S

 

O P I N I O N

 

Appellant Brown appeals from his conviction for delivery of cocaine (enhanced by a prior felony conviction) for which he was sentenced to 20 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division.

On December 5, 1994, undercover officers King and Butts received information that rock cocaine was being sold from 1326 Baden in Dallas. They secured backup officers and drove to that area in an undercover vehicle. There, they approached a male pedestrian and told him they were goinng to "score a couple of fifties," (which means they were there to buy two $50 rocks of cocaine). The man told the officers to go to the garage in the back. The man and Officer King entered the garage. Appellant and a female, Delores Ward, were in the garage watching television. King spoke with Appellant about purchasing drugs and stated he wanted to "score two fifties." Appellant said "okay," and told Ward to "go get Montana." Appellant appeared to be in charge. Ward left the garage and returned soon with two males, one named Bright and and the other, Ronald Brown, who's street name was "Montana."

"Montana" was Appellant's nephew, Ward was his common-law wife, and Bright was his brother. Montana asked Officer King, "what you need?" King replied, "two fifties." As Appellant watched, Montana laid out several plastic bags of a white rock-like substance. King picked up two of the bags and offered $100 to Montana. Montana told King to give the money to the man who had told him to go to the garage. With Appellant watching, the man took the money and placed it on the table. Montana then picked it up.

After the purchase, Officers King and Butts met with the backup officers and gave them descriptions of the persons at the location. The officers proceeded to arrest all the parties involved in the transaction. The rock-like substance purchased by Officer King was cocaine.

Prior to trial, Ronald Brown had pled guilty to this offense and testified in this case that none of those present had anything to do with his drug selling. They all lived in the same house. Ronald Brown testified Appellant and Ward were present at the transaction and Ward knew he had "customers" when she came to get him, and aided him when she did so. Ronald Brown testified that Appellant had lived at that location since he had been paroled; that Appellant knew he was selling drugs from the garage; that Appellant was present at the time; and when someone said, "I need to score," Appellant was able to say "go find Montana."

Appellant testified he was not involved in Ronald Brown's drug-dealing business; admitted to a previous conviction for possession of cocaine with intent to deliver; and admitted that he was on parole at the time of this offense. He testified he knew Ronald Brown was selling drugs from the location and that he knew what a person meant if he said he "needed a fifty."

Appellant was tried under the law of parties and was found guilty by the jury. He elected to have the judge sentence him and the judge sentenced him to 20 years in prison.

Appellant appeals on two points of error.

Point one asserts the evidence is legally insufficient to support his conviction for delivery of cocaine, and point two asserts the evidence is factually insufficient to support his conviction.

In order for one to be criminally responsible for an offense committed by another, it is necessary that such person act with intent to promote or assist the commission of the offense by either soliciting, encouraging, directing, aiding, or attempting to aid the other person when the offense is committed. Thompson v. State, 697 S.W.2d 413, 414 (Tex. Crim. App. 1986); Tex. Penal Code Ann. 7.02.

When the State relies on the law of parties, it is the State's burden to offer evidence showing that the defendant acted with intent to promote or assist in the commission of the offense by soliciting, encouraging, directing, aiding, or attempting to aid the other person in the commission. Allen v. State, 686 S.W.2d 685, 690 (Tex. App. San Antonio 1985, no pet.). In determining whether one has participated as a party, reliance may be placed on actions of the party which show an understanding and common design to do a certain act. Presence at the scene of the offense is a circumstance tending to favor guilt which may show in combination with other facts that the accused participated in the commission of the offense. Beardsley v. State, 738 S.W.2d 681, 685 (Tex. Crim. App. 1987).

In reviewing the legal sufficiency of the evidence, we must determine whether, considering the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Jackson v. Virginia, 99 S. Ct. 2781, 2789; Jones v. State, 833 S.W.2d 118, 128 (Tex. Crim. App. 1992).

In reviewing the factual sufficiency of the evidence, we must view all the evidence without the prism of "in the light most favorable to the prosecution," and set aside the verdict if it is so contrary to the overwhelming weight of the evidence or be clearly wrong and unjust. Clewis v. State, 922 S.W.2d 126, 129 (Tex. Crim. App. 1996); Stone v. State, 823 S.W.2d 375, 381 (Tex. App.--Austin 1992, pet ref'd).

The evidence shows that when Officer King entered the garage, Appellant and Ward were watching television. King told them he wanted to "score a couple of fifties," that is, purchase two $50 rocks of cocaine. Appellant, without hesitation, told Ward to "go get Montana." He and King engaged in other conversation about purchasing drugs. Appellant appeared to be in charge. He knew what King was talking about and he displayed no confusion. Ward left the garage and soon returned with two others, one of whom was "Montana." Montana testified that Ward was an accomplice in this transaction and that Appellant knew Montana was selling drugs from the garage. Montana sold King two rocks of cocaine for $100, and Appellant watched the transaction. Officer King was of the opinion that Appellant assisted and aided Montana to deliver the cocaine.

In the light most favorable to the verdict, any rational trier of fact could have found beyond a reasonable doubt that Appellant aided and assisted in the commission of the offense. And viewing all of the evidence without the prism, "in the light most favorable to the prosecution," the verdict is not so contrary to the overwhelming weight of the evidence as to be 1clearly wrong and unjust. Both of Appellant's point are overruled.

The judgment is affirmed.

FRANK G. McDONALD

Chief Justice (Retired)

Before Justice Cummings,

Justice Vance, and

Chief Justice McDonald (Retired)

Affirmed

Opinion delivered and filed September 11, 1996

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