Cabble v. State

Decision Date26 October 2012
Docket NumberCR–11–0061.
Citation114 So.3d 855
PartiesQuinneshia Chemise CABBLE v. STATE of Alabama.
CourtAlabama Court of Criminal Appeals

OPINION TEXT STARTS HERE

Raymond E. Johnson, Montgomery, for appellant.

Luther Strange, atty. gen., and Stephen N. Dodd, asst. atty. gen., for appellee.

KELLUM, Judge.

Pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement, the appellant, Quinneshia Chemise Cabble, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana, a violation of §§ 13A–12–204 and 13A–12–211, Ala.Code 1975. The circuit court sentenced Cabble to 15 years' imprisonment; the sentence was split, and she was ordered to serve 3 years' imprisonment, with the balance suspended, followed by 5 years' supervised probation. The circuit court ordered Cabble to pay $50 to the Crime Victims Compensation Fund, a fine of $1,000 pursuant to the Drug Demand Reduction Assessment Act, $100 to the Alabama Forensic Services Trust Fund, and court costs.

The record indicates that in 2007 Eddie Spivey,1 John Hurst, and Becky Sparkman, agents with the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (“DEA”) Montgomery Task Force (Montgomery DEA Task Force”) as well as DEA Special Agents Neill Thompson, Brett Hamilton, and Devin L. Whittle and others began investigating a drug distribution organization responsible for distributing hundreds of pounds of cocaine and marijuana in Montgomery and surrounding cities. In connection with this investigation, D'Andre Stokes was arrested on April 5, 2007, in a sting operation in Auburn after he attempted to purchase five kilograms of cocaine from an undercover DEA agent.

Four months later, on August 19, 2007, a DEA confidential informant (hereinafter referred to as “confidential informant no. 1) told Special Agent Thompson that Cabble and her boyfriend, Adarryl Brown, had contacted him about finding a cocaine supplier. Specifically, Cabble told confidential informant no. 1 that Brown and Stokes had had a disagreement over the prices that Stokes was charging Brown for cocaine. Cabble asked confidential informant no. 1 to contact an individual named Kelvin Artis so that Brown could purchase cocaine directly from Artis. Cabble offered to sell confidential informant no. 1 “any amount” of cocaine confidential informant no. 1 wanted to buy.

On December 14, 2007, a different DEA confidential informant who had been arrested for drug distribution in Montgomery in April 2007 (hereinafter referred to as “confidential informant no. 2) told Montgomery DEA Task Force Agent Spivey that, through his association with a Montgomery drug dealer named Gerrick Brown, he had learned that Gerrick Brown's source of cocaine was Clarence Donya Hicks, Jr., and his brother Deondra Conrad Hicks, and that the Hicks brothers were the leaders of a large drug-trafficking organization operating in Montgomery.

On February 29, 2008, Montgomery DEA Task Force Agents Spivey and Hurst conducted a proffer interview with Stokes. During the interview, Stokes stated that Brown and Gerrick were brothers and that Gerrick got his cocaine from Donya Hicks who, in turn, got the cocaine from a black male in Atlanta who went by the name of Lil John.” Stokes stated that he believed that Hicks's brother Deondra transported the cocaine he received from Lil John from Atlanta to Montgomery by way of a tractor trailer.

On May 19, 2009, Agents Spivey and Hurst interviewed confidential informant no. 2 again, at which time confidential informant no. 2 told Agents Spivey and Hurst that, in addition to transporting cocaine, Donya Hicks also frequently transported marijuana from Atlanta to Montgomery for Gerrick. Through his association with Gerrick, confidential informant no. 2 developed a relationship with Donya Hicks and learned how the drug-trafficking organization operated.

As the investigation continued, DEA Special Agent Whittle and Montgomery DEA Task Force Agent Spivey met with confidential informant no. 2 regarding information about Gerrick. During the meeting, confidential informant no. 2 stated that he had had conversations with Gerrick over a cellular telephone with a telephone number assigned to Gerrick. At some point before March 1, 2010, an analysis of the pen register and telephone tolls for that number—a cellular telephone used by Gerrick—showed that from February 7, 2009, to February 8, 2010, that cellular telephone had been in contact with another telephone number in Alabama a total of 281 times. At the time, the Alabama telephone number was billed to Cabble's physical address.

On March 1, 2010, DEA Special Agent Whittle, through the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, applied to the United States District Court for a wiretap on Gerrick's cellular telephone. On March 1, 2010, United States District Judge W. Keith Watkins signed an order authorizing the interception of wire communications for that cellular telephone number. The March 1, 2010, wiretap order listed Cabble, among others, as a target interceptee.

On March 2, 2010, a telephone call was intercepted on the wiretap between the cellular telephone number used by Gerrick and an Atlanta area cellular telephone number used by Donya Hicks. During the telephone call, Hicks asked Gerrick for a quarter of a pound of a type of marijuana the two of them referred to as “bubble.” (C. 148.) A second call was subsequently intercepted the same day on the wiretap between the cellular telephone number used by Gerrick and the Atlanta area cellular telephone number used by Donya Hicks. During that telephone call, Hicks told Gerrick that Hicks kept “a pound or two” of marijuana at Lakesha Moore's house. (C. 150.) Later in the investigation, an analysis of the pen register and telephone tolls for Moore's cellular telephone revealed that, between February 1, 2010, and February 18, 2010, Moore's cellular telephone had been in contact with Hicks's cellular telephone a total of 443 times.

On March 3, 2010, another telephone call was intercepted on the wiretap between Gerrick and the Atlanta area cellular telephone number used by Hicks. In the call, Hicks informed Gerrick that Thomas Shirrell and Buford Mercel had broken into Amber Mann's house and had stolen two pounds of marijuana Hicks had stashed there. Later in the investigation, an analysis of the pen register and telephone tolls for Mann's cellular telephone revealed that, between February 1, 2010, and March 4, 2010, Mann's cellular telephone had been in contact with Hicks's cellular telephone a total of 369 times.

On March 30, 2010, DEA Special Agent Whittle made a separate application for a wiretap on the cellular telephone number belonging to Hicks. The application expressly referenced the fact that the Montgomery DEA Task Force had already obtained a wiretap on Gerrick's cellular telephone number, and that information gathered from that wiretap and from other sources had led agents to believe that they also needed a wiretap on Hicks's cellular telephone. On March 30, 2010, United States District Judge W. Keith Watkins signed an order authorizing the interception of wire communications for Hicks's cellular telephone number.

After conducting an extensive investigation which included wiretaps on both Gerrick's and Hicks's telephone numbers, law-enforcement agents working the case concluded that the amount of marijuana to which Cabble was linked did not meet the minimum threshold necessary for the Montgomery DEA Task Force to pursue federal charges against Cabble. The record indicates that the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama subsequently sought, under 18 U.S.C. § 2517, authorization from the federal court to release to the Montgomery County District Attorney the information gathered on Cabble from the federal wiretaps on Hicks's cellular telephone number. On or before April 26, 2010, the federal court issued an order pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 2518(8)(b) authorizing the release to the Montgomery County District Attorney of the information gathered on Cabble from the federal wiretaps on Hicks's cellular telephone. Thereafter, both the information from the wiretap on Gerrick's cellular telephone and the information from the wiretap on Hicks's cellular telephone were turned over to the Montgomery County District Attorney for potential state court prosecution. Cabble was subsequently indicted for conspiracy to traffic in marijuana.

Before pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute marijuana, Cabble moved to suppress evidence obtained as a result of the federal wiretaps. Cabble filed two motions to suppress the wiretap evidence. In her first motion, Cabble argued that the information gathered from the federal wiretaps pursuant to a federal-wiretap warrant was inadmissible in an Alabama state court. Specifically, Cabble asserted that Alabama law prevents the admission of wiretap evidence under § 13A–11–30 et seq., Ala.Code 1975, and that no exception existed that would allow the admission of the wiretap evidence at trial. In her secondmotion, Cabble argued that the wiretap evidence should be suppressed because, she argued, the affidavit submitted by DEA Special Agent Whittle was insufficient to support the issuance of the wiretaps. Specifically, Cabble argued that the affidavit contained only “generalizations and boilerplate recitations regarding why traditional investigative techniques have not sufficed” and that, on that basis, it did not adequately demonstrate the necessity for a wiretap. (C. 198.) Finally, Cabble argued that the district court's order authorizing the wiretap was flawed because the order did not include a specific statement of the particular state offenses to which it related. The circuit court denied both motions to suppress the wiretap evidence.

After the circuit court denied her motions to suppress the wiretap evidence, Cabble moved to prevent the State from using sealed documents during its prosecution of Cabble. Cabble contended that the sealed documents, i.e., the...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT