Simmons v. State, 84-51

Citation687 P.2d 255
Decision Date21 September 1984
Docket NumberNo. 84-51,84-51
PartiesCurtis Wayne SIMMONS, aka Apache Simmons, Appellant (Defendant), v. The STATE of Wyoming, Appellee (Plaintiff).
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Wyoming

Leonard D. Munker, Public Defender, and Sylvia Lee Hackl, Appellate Counsel, Wyoming Public Defender Program, Cheyenne, signed the brief, for appellant.

A.G. McClintock, Atty. Gen., Gerald A. Stack, Deputy Atty. Gen., John W. Renneisen, Sr. Asst. Atty. Gen., and Michael A. Blonigen, Asst. Atty. Gen., signed the brief, for appellee.


ROONEY, Chief Justice.

Appellant, Curtis Wayne (Apache) Simmons, was convicted on a trial to the court of aiding and abetting delivery of a controlled substance in violation of §§ 6-1-114 1 and 35-7-1031(A)(II) , W.S.19772. He words the single issue on appeal as follows "Whether the evidence was insufficient to support Appellant's conviction of aiding and abetting the delivery of a controlled substance."

We affirm.

Appellant acknowledges that the standard for review of the sufficiency of the evidence is "well-known" and "presents a formidable hurdle to an appellant." We test the sufficiency of the evidence on appeal by examining and accepting as true the evidence of the prosecution, leaving out of consideration entirely the evidence of the defendant in conflict therewith; we give every favorable inference which may reasonably and fairly be drawn to the evidence of the prosecution. In other words, it is not whether the evidence establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt for us, but whether it is sufficient to form the basis for a reasonable inference of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to be drawn by the jury when the evidence is viewed in a light most favorable to the state. Harvey v. State, Wyo., 596 P.2d 1386, 1387 (1979); Grabill v. State, Wyo., 621 P.2d 802, 803 (1980); Harries v. State, Wyo., 650 P.2d 273, 274 (1982); Cutbirth v. State, Wyo., 663 P.2d 888, 889 (1983); Simmons v. State, Wyo., 674 P.2d 1294, 1296 (1984).

In addition to the standard for review given above, appellant acknowledges in his brief that no motions for judgment of acquittal were made to the trial judge. Therefore, the issue in this case must be reviewed in the context of plain error. 3 The requirements for a finding of plain error are (1) that the record clearly shows the alleged error, (2) that the error violated a clear and unequivocal rule of law in an obvious way, and (3) that material prejudice resulted. Browder v. State, Wyo., 639 P.2d 889, 895 (1982); Marshall v. State, Wyo., 646 P.2d 795, 797 (1982).

Nonetheless, appellant's argument on appeal would have us consider evidence in conflict with that of the prosecution, have us second guess the trial fact finder by reweighing the evidence and have us reassess the credibility of the witnesses.

Not contested are the following: During June of 1983, Curt Sundell, an undercover narcotics agent with the Evanston Police Department, made contact with appellant and arranged to buy a quarter pound of marijuana. On June 14, 1983, Sundell gave the appellant $375 as "front" or "buy" money and appellant agreed to meet with him and deliver the marijuana. However, appellant was unable to deliver the marijuana that night, and arranged to meet with Sundell on June 15, 1983, in Hamblin City Park. On June 15, 1983, appellant's wife did meet with Sundell in the Park and did indeed give the undercover agent a brown paper bag.

In defense to the foregoing, appellant asserts that he had taken the money home and discussed the situation with his wife; that they concluded Sundell might be an undercover narcotics agent; that they would just return the money; and that the paper bag contained the money but no marijuana. Appellant further asserts that if the bag ever contained marijuana, it was placed there by Sundell after he received the bag.

The trial judge, sitting as the trier of fact, heard testimony concerning the transaction from appellant, from Sundell, and from the two police officers supervising Sundell, among others, and he also received into evidence and heard a tape recording of the whole transaction, as Sundell was wearing a body mike during all of the meetings. Although the tape was somewhat indistinct and broken up by static, the trial judge stated that he listened to it several times and that it resolved any doubts he may have had. With reference to the contents of the paper bag, Sundell testified that it contained marijuana, and it contained marijuana when it was delivered to the supervising officers.

Officer Priddy, one of the supervising officers, testified that he searched Sundell's car prior to the June 15 transaction and it did not contain any controlled substances--thus, Sundell did not have any marijuana to substitute for the money. He testified in part:

"Q. Specifically, I would like to call your attention to the morning of June 15, 1983. Did you have occasion on that morning to come in contact with Curt Sundell?

"A. Yes.

* * *

* * *

"Q. After that discussion, what, if anything, did you do in regards to Mr. Sundell?

"A. I searched his vehicle.

"Q. What did that search consist of?

"A. Under the seats, feeling under the seats, looking under the dashboard, in the glove box, trunk, back seat, just for any paraphenalia [sic] or any other possible controlled substance.

"Q. What, if anything, did that search reveal?

"A. Negative results.

"Q. Negative results?

"A. Right.

"Q. You mean you didn't find anything?

"A. Nothing."

Viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to the State, it is abundantly clear that there was sufficient evidence to support the conviction of aiding and abetting the delivery of a controlled substance, i.e., that the crime in question was committed by someone, and the person charged with aiding and abetting associated himself with and participated in the accomplishment and success of the criminal venture. Nye & Nissen v. United States, 336 U.S. 613, 618-619, 69 S.Ct. 766, 769-770, 93 L.Ed. 919 (1949); Goldsmith v. Cheney, 447 F.2d 624, 628 (10th Cir.1971); Haight v. State, Wyo., 654 P.2d 1232, 1238 (1982).

Although Mrs. Simmons actually accomplished the delivery of the controlled substance when she gave the bag of marijuana to Sundell, appellant participated in this by taking the...

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11 cases
  • Young v. State
    • United States
    • Wyoming Supreme Court
    • March 26, 1993, we quoted the standard of review with respect to the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain a conviction from Simmons v. State, 687 P.2d 255, 257 (Wyo.1984), where it was stated in this We test the sufficiency of the evidence on appeal by examining and accepting as true the evidence o......
  • Mills v. State
    • United States
    • Wyoming Supreme Court
    • July 31, 2023
    ... ... Wyo., 655 P.2d 1240, 1242 ([Wyo.] 1982) ... King v. State, 2023 WY 36, ¶ 13, 527 P.3d 1229, ... 1237 (Wyo. 2023) (quoting Simmons v. State , 687 P.2d ... 255, 258 (Wyo. 1984)) (emphasis added) ...          [¶38] ... The State brought fourteen counts against Mr ... ...
  • Lessard v. State
    • United States
    • Wyoming Supreme Court
    • May 21, 1986
    ...of the Wyoming Rules of Evidence, and is still the law in Wyoming. See, e.g., McArtor v. State, Wyo., 699 P.2d 288 (1985); Simmons v. State, Wyo., 687 P.2d 255 (1984) (credibility is for the trier of Acceptance of this prong of Lessard's argument, however, does not change the result in this......
  • Fortner v. State
    • United States
    • Wyoming Supreme Court
    • December 3, 1992
    ...was for the jury to determine rather than for this Court. Kavanaugh v. State, 769 P.2d 908, 911 (Wyo.1989). As we said in Simmons v. State, 687 P.2d 255, 258 (Wyo.1984) (citations omitted), another drug case concerning sufficiency of the In actuality, appellant's argument goes more to the c......
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