Solis v. State, No. 97-233

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
Writing for the CourtBefore LEHMAN; LEHMAN
Citation981 P.2d 34
Decision Date21 May 1999
Docket NumberNo. 97-233
PartiesMichael Anthony SOLIS, Appellant (Defendant), v. The STATE of Wyoming, Appellee (Plaintiff).

Page 34

981 P.2d 34
Michael Anthony SOLIS, Appellant (Defendant),
v.
The STATE of Wyoming, Appellee (Plaintiff).
No. 97-233.
Supreme Court of Wyoming.
May 21, 1999.

Page 35

Sylvia Lee Hackl, State Public Defender; Donna D. Domonkos, Appellate Counsel; Stephen I. Singer, Faculty Director, Defender Aid Program; and Christopher M. Wages, Student Attorney. Representing Appellant. Argument by Ms. Domonkos.

William U. Hill, Attorney General; Paul S. Rehurek, Deputy Attorney General; and D. Michael Pauling, Senior Assistant Attorney General. Representing Appellee. Argument by Mr. Pauling.

Before LEHMAN, C.J., and THOMAS, MACY, GOLDEN, and TAYLOR, * JJ.

LEHMAN, Chief Justice.

Michael Anthony Solis was convicted of felony possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine. Solis appeals, claiming the trial court improperly admitted into evidence cash in his possession at the time of arrest, and additionally violated W.R.E. 608(b) by permitting the prosecutor to question Solis about a specific instance of conduct, which Solis asserts was collateral and not directly probative of his truthfulness or untruthfulness. We find the Rule 608(b) claim without merit, but hold the trial court erred in admitting the cash into evidence. We deem this error harmless, however, in light of the overwhelming evidence of guilt.

We affirm.

ISSUES

Solis advances the following issues for review:

I. Did the district court err by admitting evidence of $2,289.00 found on Mr. Solis' person when he was only charged with possession of a controlled substance?

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II. Did the district court err by permitting the State to cross-examine Mr. Solis about an alleged specific instance of conduct that was collateral and not directly probative of truthfulness or untruthfulness as required by Wyoming Rule of Evidence 608(b)?

Appellee State rephrases the issues:

I. Did the district court properly admit evidence of money found on appellant?

II. Did the district court properly permit inquiry, during the cross-examination of appellant, into a specific instance of conduct bearing upon his untruthfulness?

FACTS

On October 30, 1996, Solis appeared in municipal court. At the conclusion of that proceeding, pursuant to a warrant on an unrelated charge of delivery of heroin, Solis was arrested, handcuffed, and taken to the detention center. During the booking procedure, Solis was searched, and a brown bag containing 15.13 grams of a powdery substance, wrapped in 19 individual bags, was found. Also found in Solis' pocket was $2,289 cash, a credit card, and receipts.

Testing by the crime lab identified the substance as methamphetamine. Solis was thereafter charged with unlawfully possessing a controlled substance in excess of three grams as proscribed by Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 35-7-1031(c)(i)(C) & (c)(iii) (Michie 1997) and 35-7-1016(d)(ii) (Michie Rpl. July 1994). Prior to trial, Solis filed a motion in limine to exclude the cash from evidence. The trial court heard argument on the matter and denied the motion. Solis was convicted by a jury and sentenced to not less than two nor more than three years. This appeal timely follows.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Evidentiary rulings are within the sound discretion of the trial court and include determinations of the adequacy of foundation and relevancy, competency, materiality, and remoteness of the evidence. Punches v. State, 944 P.2d 1131, 1136-37 (Wyo.1997). This court will generally accede to the trial court's determination of the admissibility of evidence unless that court clearly abused its discretion. Brown v. State, 944 P.2d 1168, 1170 (Wyo.1997); Wilson v. State, 874 P.2d 215, 218 (Wyo.1994). In determining whether the trial court abused its discretion, the query is whether the court could reasonably conclude as it did, and whether its ruling was arbitrary or capricious. Vaughn v. State, 962 P.2d 149, 151-52 (Wyo.1998). The burden of establishing such abuse lies with the defendant. Barnes v. State, 858 P.2d 522, 527 (Wyo.1993).

If the trial court erred by admitting evidence, we then must ascertain whether the error affects any substantial rights of the accused, providing grounds for reversal, or whether it is harmless. The harmless error standard is set out in W.R.A.P. 9.04:

Any error, defect, irregularity or variance which does not affect substantial rights shall be disregarded by the reviewing court.

See also W.R.Cr.P. 52. An...

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27 practice notes
  • Whitney v. State, No. 03-34.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • October 21, 2004
    ...it did, and whether it acted in an arbitrary or capricious manner. Trujillo v. State, 2 P.3d 567, 571 (Wyo.2000) (quoting Solis v. State, 981 P.2d 34, 36 (Wyo. A trial court's evidentiary rulings "`are entitled to considerable deference,'" and will not be reversed on appeal so long as "`the......
  • Ryan v. State, No. 98-279.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • October 8, 1999
    ...under the same standard of review. We recently summarized the considerations relevant to review of evidentiary rulings in Solis v. State, 981 P.2d 34 Evidentiary rulings are within the sound discretion of the trial court and include determinations of the adequacy of foundation and relevancy......
  • Teniente v. State, No. 05-171.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • October 18, 2007
    ...to the trial court's determination of the admissibility of evidence unless that court clearly abused its discretion.' Solis v. State, 981 P.2d 34, 36 (Wyo.1999) (citation omitted). We have described the standard of an abuse of discretion as reaching the question of the reasonableness of the......
  • Klahn v. State, No. 02-259
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • August 13, 2004
    ...2001 WY 102, ¶25, 33 P.3d 758, 766-67 (Wyo. 2001), cert. denied, 535 U.S. 994, 122 S.Ct. 1554, 152 L.Ed.2d 477 (2002) and Solis v. State, 981 P.2d 34, 36 (Wyo. 1999)). There is nothing in the record to indicate that any of the jurors who served on the panel were not qualified to serve. All ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
27 cases
  • Whitney v. State, No. 03-34.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • October 21, 2004
    ...it did, and whether it acted in an arbitrary or capricious manner. Trujillo v. State, 2 P.3d 567, 571 (Wyo.2000) (quoting Solis v. State, 981 P.2d 34, 36 (Wyo. A trial court's evidentiary rulings "`are entitled to considerable deference,'" and will not be reversed on appeal so long as "`the......
  • Ryan v. State, No. 98-279.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • October 8, 1999
    ...under the same standard of review. We recently summarized the considerations relevant to review of evidentiary rulings in Solis v. State, 981 P.2d 34 Evidentiary rulings are within the sound discretion of the trial court and include determinations of the adequacy of foundation and relevancy......
  • Teniente v. State, No. 05-171.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • October 18, 2007
    ...to the trial court's determination of the admissibility of evidence unless that court clearly abused its discretion.' Solis v. State, 981 P.2d 34, 36 (Wyo.1999) (citation omitted). We have described the standard of an abuse of discretion as reaching the question of the reasonableness of the......
  • Klahn v. State, No. 02-259
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • August 13, 2004
    ...2001 WY 102, ¶25, 33 P.3d 758, 766-67 (Wyo. 2001), cert. denied, 535 U.S. 994, 122 S.Ct. 1554, 152 L.Ed.2d 477 (2002) and Solis v. State, 981 P.2d 34, 36 (Wyo. 1999)). There is nothing in the record to indicate that any of the jurors who served on the panel were not qualified to serve. All ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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