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Reed v. State

Court of Appeals of Georgia, Fourth Division

August 2, 2017

REED
v.
THE STATE.

          DILLARD, C. J., RAY, P. J. and SELF, J.

          Self, Judge.

         Timmy Lane Reed pled guilty to one count each of trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and possession of more than an ounce of marijuana. The trial court sentenced him to serve 15 years in prison. Reed appeals, contending that the trial court erred in failing to sentence him below the mandatory minimum pursuant to OCGA § 16-13-31 (g) (2) (A). We disagree and affirm.

         The facts in this case are not in dispute. In the summer of 2015, the Cherokee County Multi Agency Narcotics Squad ("CMANS") received a tip that Reed was selling methamphetamine. On three separate occasions, beginning on July 23, 2015, CMANS used an undercover agent and confidential informant to purchase from Reed between 1.2 grams and 1.9 grams of methamphetamine for "a hundred dollars cash" each time. Based on these three purchases, CMANS officers obtained a warrant to search his residence. Officers recovered 211 grams of methamphetamine, 516 grams of marijuana, and $4, 678 in cash. At the time of the search, three individuals were present in the residence, including Reed, Reed's neighbor, and Reed's girlfriend, Sherri Satterfield. The neighbor was working on Reed's vehicle and admitted to having used methamphetamine provided to him by Reed that morning in exchange for the work. Reed claimed his girlfriend knew nothing about the drugs found in the home.

         Reed admitted to possessing four to five ounces of methamphetamine and to selling it "to make a buck" because he had lost his job. Reed told officers that he made two sales every week and that he sold approximately four ounces every two to three months. Officers arrested Reed and transported him to the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center.

         A week after his arrest, narcotics agents intercepted a phone call from the jail between Reed and a family member discussing something buried in his yard. After talking with the family member, officers obtained a second warrant to search the residence and discovered $22, 433 and 11.8 grams of methamphetamine buried in a container in the yard.

         Reed and Satterfield were jointly indicted on one count each of trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and possession of more than an ounce of marijuana. Reed pled guilty to all three charges and the trial court sentenced him as a first offender to 15 years.

         The trial court sentenced Reed under OCGA § 16-13-31 (e) (2), which provides:

Any person who sells, delivers, or brings into this state or has possession of 28 grams or more of methamphetamine, amphetamine, or any mixture containing either methamphetamine or amphetamine, as described in Schedule II, in violation of this article commits the felony offense of trafficking in methamphetamine or amphetamine and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished as follows:. . . (2) If the quantity of methamphetamine, amphetamine, or a mixture containing either substance involved is 200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams, the person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 15 years and shall pay a fine of $300, 000.00.

         The trial court declined Reed's request for a deviation from the mandatory minimum sentence. See OCGA § 16-13-31 (g) (2). It reasoned:

There are a lot of instances where [s]tatutes that deny discretion to the Court work - don't always work to what might be the best justice in a case.
This . . . particular [s]tatute has . . . eased somewhat . . . in providing discretion, but it is a very limited discretion . . . and defined in Section (2) (a) - (g) (2) (a).
And . . . I believe that the Governor has begun to re-examine . . . the drug laws and to try and create a perhaps a more rational structure than . . . before. I think the focus of that is . . . on addiction . . . and the harm that addiction causes.
I also believe that mandatory minimums for dealing . . . don't always work the perfect justice, but I understand them because I see every day the impact of what you peddle. I see children who are neglected, abused, who die because of people who are so - whose lives are so wrecked by methamphetamine that they can't be parents. I see spousal abuse, theft, and all manner of violence. I can't even ...

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