621 A.2d 408 (Me. 1993), State v. Navarro

Citation:621 A.2d 408
Opinion Judge:RUDMAN,
Party Name:STATE of Maine v. Michael NAVARRO.
Attorney:Janet T. Mills, Dist. Atty., Kevin J. Regan, Asst. Dist. Atty., Vicki S. Mathews, law student intern (orally) Auburn, for plaintiff. William Maselli, (orally) Auburn, for defendant.
Judge Panel:Before WATHEN, C.J. and ROBERTS, GLASSMAN, CLIFFORD, COLLINS and RUDMAN, JJ.
Case Date:March 02, 1993
Court:Supreme Judicial Court of Maine
 
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Page 408

621 A.2d 408 (Me. 1993)

STATE of Maine

v.

Michael NAVARRO.

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine.

March 2, 1993

Argued Feb. 2, 1993.

Page 409

Janet T. Mills, Dist. Atty., Kevin J. Regan, Asst. Dist. Atty., Vicki S. Mathews, law student intern (orally) Auburn, for plaintiff.

William Maselli, (orally) Auburn, for defendant.

Before WATHEN, C.J. and ROBERTS, GLASSMAN, CLIFFORD, COLLINS and RUDMAN, JJ.

RUDMAN, Justice.

Michael Navarro appeals from the Superior Court (Androscoggin County, Delahanty, C.J.) judgment entered on a jury verdict finding him guilty of aggravated trafficking of scheduled drugs, 17-A M.R.S.A. §§ 1103 and 1106 (1983 & Supp.1992). Navarro argues that the Superior

Page 410

Court committed reversible error by: (1) denying his motion to suppress the marked currency found on his person during a search incident to his arrest; (2) admitting in evidence the testimony of a chemist concerning his analysis of the powder in issue as well as the certificate of analysis; (3) allowing the State to amend its indictment after the close of the State's case; and (4) denying his motion for a new trial on the ground that the State had affirmatively manipulated the trial process to deny him access to the testimony of a material exculpatory witness. Navarro also challenges the sufficiency of the evidence. Finding no reversible error, we affirm the judgment.

Facts

Under police supervision, Ricky Breton, a police informant, attempted to buy a controlled drug from Navarro with marked funds. Rebuffed by Navarro, Breton asked (co-defendant turned State's witness) Tammy Violette to purchase the cocaine for him. Breton gave Violette the marked funds and a short time later she returned with a package of cocaine. The police, who were outside, observed Violette go into Navarro's apartment and then return to her apartment shortly thereafter. According to Violette's testimony, when she went to Navarro's apartment, Navarro answered the door, took the marked funds and handed Violette a bag of cocaine. Based on the controlled purchase, as well as other surveillance information, a warrant was obtained to search Navarro's apartment, and on entry, five persons were placed under arrest. A search of Navarro revealed a marked bill used during the controlled cocaine purchase. Inspection of the apartment revealed cash, including a marked bill from the earlier drug transaction, two bags of white powder suspected to be cocaine, a radio scanner set to the Lewiston Police frequency, and a box of Zig-Zag papers and sandwich baggies.

Procedure

Navarro, along with Antonio Cabeja, Fernando Trinidad, Sergio Santana and Tammy Violette, was indicted for aggravated trafficking in a schedule W Drug, namely, cocaine, pursuant to 17-A M.R.S.A. §§ 1103 and 1106. Specifically, the indictment charged that the defendants did:

knowingly traffick what they knew or believed to be a scheduled drug, namely, cocaine, and which is, in fact, a scheduled W drug, by intentionally or knowingly possessing said cocaine with the intent to sell, barter, trade, exchange or otherwise furnish it for consideration to Ricky Breton, and at the time of the offense, Defendants were on or within 1,000 feet of real property comprising a private or public elementary or secondary school.

(emphasis added). The Superior Court (Bradford, J.), finding that there was probable cause for his arrest, denied Navarro's pretrial motion to suppress the evidence secured at the time of his arrest. Two days before the start of the trial, co-defendant Sergio Santana filed a jury trial waiver effectively severing his trial from that of Navarro. A day before trial, Navarro filed a motion to dismiss his indictment, or in the alternative, to continue the trial, alleging, inter alia, that the State had refused to make Tammy Violette or Sergio Santana available, which motion was denied. Further, Navarro sought, to no avail, to have Santana's attorney, as well as the District Attorney, offer evidence regarding any plea bargain between the State and Santana and to explain why the plea would not be entered prior to his trial.

Following the trial, the jury found defendant Navarro guilty of aggravated trafficking in cocaine as charged and Navarro unsuccessfully sought a new trial.

Navarro then filed this timely appeal.

I

Denial of motion to suppress

At the hearing on Navarro's motion to suppress the...

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