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Robinson v. State

Court of Appeals of Georgia

February 20, 2015

ROBINSON
v.
THE STATE

Reconsideration denied April 9, 2015.

Drug violation. Henry Superior Court. Before Judge Amero.

S. Cindy Wang, for appellant.

James L. Wright III, District Attorney, Jordan K. Van Matre, Sandra G. Rivers, Assistant District Attorneys, for appellee.

OPINION

Branch, Judge.

In Robinson v. State, 324 Ga.App. XXVII (November 7, 2013) (unpublished), this Court held that the evidence was sufficient to sustain Carlos Robinson's conviction for trafficking in cocaine and that Robinson had not received ineffective assistance of counsel. On April 22, 2014, the Supreme Court of Georgia granted Robinson's petition for certiorari, vacated our judgment, and remanded the case [331 Ga.App. 873] to this Court for reconsideration in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Scott v. State, 295 Ga. 39 (757 S.E.2d 106) (2014). In that decision, the Supreme Court held that the former version of Georgia's cocaine trafficking statute, OCGA § 16-13-31 (a), " required proof that the defendant had knowledge of the weight of the cocaine" at issue. Id. at 42 (3) (footnote omitted). The Supreme Court also noted that the issue facing this Court on remand was " whether the evidence at trial was sufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that [the defendant] knew that the cocaine he possessed weighed 28 grams or more." Id. at 42 (3), n. 5.

Page 224

On remand, we conclude that this jury was authorized to infer from the evidence presented that Robinson knew that the cocaine he possessed weighed 28 grams or more. We therefore affirm Robinson's conviction.

" On appeal from a criminal conviction, we view the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict, with the defendant no longer enjoying a presumption of innocence." Reese v. State, 270 Ga.App. 522, 523 (607 S.E.2d 165) (2004) (citation omitted). We neither weigh the evidence nor judge the credibility of witnesses, but determine only whether, after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, a " rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt." Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319 (III) (B) (99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560) (1979) (citation omitted).

We stated the relevant facts in our unpublished opinion as follows:

Construed in favor of the verdict, the evidence shows that on December 10, 2007, Robinson was driving on Highway 19/41 in Henry County with co-defendant Cedric Holland, who was seated in the passenger seat. As they drove past the Atlanta Motor Speedway, Locust Grove Police Officer Jason Sanders noticed that Robinson's car was moving at an abnormally slow speed. Sanders also noticed that the tint of the car's windows appeared darker than legally permitted and that the expiration sticker on the vehicle's tag was obstructed from view. Based on these observations, Sanders initiated a traffic stop.
Sanders approached the stopped car and obtained Robinson's identification. As Robinson handed Sanders his driver's license, Sanders observed that Robinson's hands were shaking and that his carotid artery was visibly pulsating. Sanders then directed Robinson to step out of the vehicle, and Robinson complied. While Robinson stood behind the vehicle, Sanders asked Robinson where he was coming from [331 Ga.App. 874] and where he was going. Robinson answered that he was leaving a friend's house in Atlanta and that he and Holland were on their way to Robinson's house in Griffin. At this point, Sanders left Robinson standing at the rear of the car and approached Holland, who was still seated in the vehicle. When Sanders asked Holland the same questions he previously asked Robinson, Holland responded that they were coming from work in Atlanta and that they were on their way to Holland's father's house in Griffin. Sanders then asked for and obtained Holland's driver's license and contacted dispatch to run a Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC) check on both men's licenses.
While waiting for dispatch to reply, Sanders noticed Robinson trying to walk toward the passenger side of the vehicle and asked him several times to remain standing at the rear of the vehicle. Sanders also saw that Holland was making furtive movements inside the vehicle, as if he were hiding something underneath the seat. Based upon these actions, Sanders asked Robinson for consent to search the vehicle. He inquired whether Robinson had any weapons, large sums of U.S. currency, or any illegal narcotics inside the car. Robinson denied the presence of any of these items and gave Sanders verbal consent to search the vehicle.
Sanders did not immediately proceed to search the car, however, because he was still waiting for a response from dispatch and for a backup unit to arrive. Instead, Sanders walked back to his patrol car to retrieve an item. As he did so, Sanders saw Holland jump from the passenger side to the driver's side of the vehicle and speed away. Sanders quickly handcuffed Robinson, turned him over to the back-up unit that had just arrived, and got in his patrol car to pursue Holland, who was ultimately apprehended. During the chase, Sanders observed Holland throw a black package and then a clear bag out of the passenger side window. Holland then lost control of the car and slammed into a telephone pole. He fled the vehicle on foot before being caught ...

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