Pasuer v. State, A04A2207.

CourtUnited States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
Citation271 Ga. App. 259,609 S.E.2d 193
Docket NumberNo. A04A2207.,A04A2207.
PartiesPASUER v. The STATE.
Decision Date07 January 2005
271 Ga. App. 259

609 S.E.2d 193
271 Ga.App.


No. A04A2207.

Court of Appeals of Georgia.

January 7, 2005.

609 S.E.2d 194
Christopher Townley, Rossville, for appellant

Herbert Franklin, District Attorney, Bruce Roberts, Assistant District Attorney, for appellee.


A Walker County jury found Michael Pasuer guilty of possession and sale of cocaine, OCGA § 16-13-30(a), (b). Following the denial of his motion for new trial, Pasuer appeals, contending the trial court [271 Ga. App. 260] erred in admitting certain evidence and in refusing to give a requested jury instruction. Finding no error, we affirm.

Viewed in favor of the jury's verdict,1 the evidence showed the following relevant facts. On July 11, 2000, a Lookout Mountain Drug Task Force officer received information from two informants, a male and a female, that Pasuer and his wife were involved in illegal drug sales. The officer, along with other task force officers, Georgia Bureau of Investigation special agents, and a federal drug agent (collectively, "the officers"), met with the two informants later that day to conduct a "controlled buy" of an ounce of cocaine from the Pasuers. Immediately prior to the transaction, the officers gave the informants specific instructions about where they were to go and how they should conduct themselves during the controlled buy. The informants understood that they were not to use cocaine during the transaction or purchase additional cocaine for their own use. The officers thoroughly searched the informants and their car, and gave the informants 1,100 in government funds to purchase an ounce of cocaine. They also attached an electronic surveillance device to the male informant's belt so that the officers could listen to and record the drug purchase. The informant testified at trial that he did not touch the device after the officers attached it to his belt. The officers followed the informants to the Pasuers' residence, then patrolled nearby so they could watch the house and listen to the transmission of the purchase.

609 S.E.2d 195
The informants entered the home and went to a back room with Pasuer's wife. Pasuer was asleep on the couch in a separate room. After Pasuer's wife weighed an ounce of cocaine, the female informant "cut" the cocaine by removing seven grams and replacing it with a different powder.2 She put the seven grams in a separate baggie. After the transaction, the informants went directly to a pre-arranged location and met with the officers. The informants gave the officers two plastic baggies containing a combined total of 32.2 grams of cocaine.3 The officers also retrieved the transmission device and secured the audiotape of the transaction in an evidence bag

Three days later, the officers arranged for the informants to go back to the Pasuers' home to pay them for drugs the couple had sold to the informants on credit before the controlled buy. The officers gave [271 Ga. App. 261] the informants 350 to pay Pasuer so the informants would remain in his "good graces," in case the officers decided to conduct another controlled buy from Pasuer in the future. The informants met with Pasuer and gave him 350 to pay off the drug debt.

The officers attempted to arrest the Pasuers a few weeks after the July 11 controlled buy, but they discovered that the couple had fled their home and were staying in a motel. When the officers arrived at the Pasuers' motel room, Pasuer tried to climb out the back window. After the officers caught Pasuer and read him his Miranda4 rights, he told the officers that he was a "mid-level" drug dealer who usually purchased one quarter kilogram of cocaine each week. According to Pasuer, he would usually resell the cocaine within a week of each delivery and earn about 3,000 in profits. The State later charged Pasuer and his wife with possession, sale, and trafficking in cocaine. A jury found both of them guilty on the sale and possession charges, but not guilty of trafficking.5

1. Pasuer contends the trial court erred in admitting his custodial statement because he made the statement after officers promised him that, if he cooperated, he would get a lower bond. Pasuer argues that his "confession" was involuntary and inadmissible because it was induced by a "hope of benefit." See OCGA § 24-3-50 ("To make a confession admissible, it must have been made voluntarily, [i.e.,] without being induced by another by the slightest hope of benefit or remotest fear of injury."). This argument fails for two reasons.

First, OCGA § 24-3-50 does not apply to Pasuer's custodial statement in this case. Although the statement was an incriminating admission regarding his general, drug-related activities, Pasuer did not admit to selling cocaine to the informants on July 11, 2000, nor did he refer to the transaction or the informants in any way. Therefore, Pasuer's statement was not a confession to the crimes for which he was charged. See Pressley v. State, 201 Ga. 267, 270(1), 39 S.E.2d 478 (1946) ("A confession is an admission freely and voluntarily made by the accused whereby he acknowledges himself to be guilty of the offense charged, and discloses the circumstances of the act, and the share and participation he had in it.") (citation omitted). The safeguards of OCGA § 24-3-50 do not apply to incriminating statements which fall short of confessions. Jewett v. State, 264 Ga.App. 571, 572(1), 591 S.E.2d 459 (2003).

Second, even if OCGA § 24-3-50 applied to Pasuer's custodial statement in this case, the phrase, "the slightest hope of benefit," does not refer to a reduction in bond. Tillman v. State, 251 Ga.App. 330, [271 Ga. App. 262] 332(2), 554 S.E.2d 305 (2001). The promise of a reduction in bond is a collateral benefit that does

609 S.E.2d 196
not make an otherwise admissible confession involuntary under OCGA § 24-3-50. Pounds v. State, 189 Ga.App. 809, 810(1), 377 S.E.2d 722 (1989); see also OCGA § 24-3-51 ("The fact that a confession has been made under ... a promise of collateral benefit shall not exclude it.").

Therefore, Pasuer's argument that his custodial statement was inadmissible under OCGA § 24-3-50 is without merit.

2. Pasuer claims the trial court erred in admitting the audiotape of the controlled buy because portions of the tape were inaudible, these "gaps" contained evidence that was favorable to his defense, and this favorable evidence could not be corroborated because the informants gave conflicting testimony about what occurred during the controlled buy. For the following reasons, we disagree.

(a) As long as the State presents a proper foundation for an audiotape, a trial court has the discretion to admit it, even if part of it is inaudible. Guess v. State, 264 Ga. 335, 336(2), 443 S.E.2d 477 (1994). Further, if the parties who were present when the audiotape was made testify about the statements or transaction recorded, the tape may be admitted as corroboration of the witnesses' testimony, even if it is partially inaudible. Kelley v. State, 168 Ga.App. 911, 913(3), 311 S.E.2d 180 (1983). In fact, a trial court is not required to exclude an otherwise admissible audiotape containing inaudible material unless the tape is the only evidence offered to...

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  • Vergara v. State, No. S07A1234.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Georgia
    • February 25, 2008
    ...217 (2000); Hill v. State, 279 Ga.App. 402, 405(3), 631 S.E.2d 446(a), fn. 4 (279 Ga.App. 402, 631 S.E.2d 446) (2006); Pasuer v. State, 271 Ga.App. 259, 261(1), 609 S.E.2d 193 (2005); and Jewett v. State, 264 Ga.App. 571, 572(1), 591 S.E.2d 459 (2003) hold otherwise, they are Applying the n......
  • Rodriguez-Nova v. State, S14A0808.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Georgia
    • September 22, 2014
    ...v. State, 260 Ga. 197, 200(2), 391 S.E.2d 406 (1990) (witness was unable to fill in blanks left by transcriber); Pasuer v. State, 271 Ga.App. 259, 263(2)(a), 609 S.E.2d 193 (2005) (part of the recording was inaudible), overruled on other grounds, Vergara v. State, 283 Ga. 175, 177(1), 657 S......
  • Boone v. State, A08A1300.
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • September 23, 2008 one promising a collateral benefit, and such a promise does not make an otherwise admissible statement inadmissible. Pasuer v. State, 271 Ga.App. 259, 261-262(1), 609 S.E.2d 193 The record shows that after he was arrested and transported to the Jackson County jail, Boone asked to speak t......
  • Rodriguez-Nova v. State, S14A0808.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Georgia
    • September 22, 2014
    ...v. State, 260 Ga. 197, 200 (2) (391 SE2d 406) (1990) (witness was unable to fill in blanks left by transcriber); Pasuer v. State, 271 Ga. App. 259, 263 (2) (a) (609 SE2d 193) (2005) (part of the recording was inaudible), overruled on other grounds, Vergara v. State, 283 Ga. 175, 177 (1) (65......
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