State v. Wilson

Decision Date01 June 1992
Docket NumberNo. 23824,23824
CourtSouth Carolina Supreme Court
PartiesThe STATE, Respondent, v. Stephen H. WILSON and Walter Wilson, Jr., Appellants. . Heard

Lesley M. Coggiola, Asst. Appellate Defender, Columbia, for appellant Walter Wilson, Jr.

Atty. Gen. T. Travis Medlock, Chief Deputy Attys. Gen. Donald J. Zelenka and Cameron M. Currie, Asst. Attys. Gen. Sean Kittrell and Tracy A. Meyers; and Sol. Richard A. Harpootlian, Columbia, for respondent.

MOORE, Justice:

Appellants 1 were convicted of trafficking in excess of 100 pounds of marijuana. We affirm.

I. FACTS

This case involves several members of the Wilson family. Appellant Steve Wilson is appellant Walter Wilson's son. Other family members, including Walter's son and daughter-in-law, Ronnie and Teresa Wilson, were also participants in the crimes alleged.

In December 1989, family members were indicted by the State-wide grand jury for various drug crimes. Steve and Walter were indicted in count # 1 along with Ronnie and Teresa for trafficking in more than 400 grams of cocaine since 1982. Count # 2 of the indictment charged Ronnie and Teresa with trafficking in more than 100 pounds of marijuana with the Martinez brothers (Roberto and Ramon) since 1979.

                A trial was held in April 1990.   Steve and Walter were acquitted of trafficking in cocaine. 2
                

In May 1990, both Steve and Walter were indicted for trafficking in more than 100 pounds of marijuana from 1985 to 1989 with Ronnie, Teresa, and the Martinez brothers. The trial judge denied motions by Steve and Walter to quash the 1990 indictment on double jeopardy grounds. Both were convicted and now appeal.

II. ISSUE

Does the Double Jeopardy Clause bar the 1990 indictment for trafficking in marijuana?

III. DISCUSSION
A. Grady v. Corbin Analysis

Appellants first argue that under Grady v. Corbin, 495 U.S. 508, 110 S.Ct. 2084, 109 L.Ed.2d 548 (1990), their subsequent prosecution for trafficking in marijuana is barred by the Double Jeopardy Clause because the prosecution sought to prove conduct that constituted an offense for which they had already been tried and acquitted.

In Grady v. Corbin, the United States Supreme Court set forth the analysis used in determining whether a subsequent prosecution is barred by the Double Jeopardy Clause. A court must first apply the traditional Blockburger 3 test. If application of that test reveals the offenses have identical statutory elements or that one is a lesser included offense of the other, then the inquiry must cease and the subsequent prosecution is barred. 495 S.Ct. at 516, 110 S.Ct. at 2090. If, however, a subsequent prosecution survives this technical comparison of the elements of the two offenses, the court must then determine whether the State will prove the entirety of the conduct previously prosecuted to establish an essential element of the offense in the subsequent prosecution. 495 U.S. at 523, 110 S.Ct. at 2094. If so, the subsequent prosecution is barred. 4 As more simply put in the recent case of United States v. Felix, --- U.S. ----, 112 S.Ct. 1377, 118 L.Ed.2d 25 (1992), the Grady v. Corbin analysis relies on a determination whether one offense is "a species of lesser-included offense" of the other.

Applying this analysis to the case at hand, we find no double jeopardy violation. First, application of the Blockburger test results in no bar to appellants' subsequent prosecution for trafficking in marijuana since neither of the statutory offenses charged (trafficking in cocaine and trafficking in marijuana) is a lesser included offense of the other. Compare S.C.Code Ann. § 44-53-370(e)(1)(b) (trafficking in marijuana) with § 44-53-370(e)(2)(e) (trafficking in cocaine).

Further, neither offense is a "species of lesser-included offense" whose prosecution would be barred under Grady v. Corbin. Appellants were first prosecuted for trafficking in more than 400 grams of cocaine by conspiring with others to accomplish its sale and delivery or by possessing that amount, either of which is a violation of § 44-53-370(e)(2)(e). After their acquittal on these charges, appellants were subsequently indicted for trafficking in more than 100 pounds of marijuana by conspiring with others to sell and deliver it or by aiding and abetting the sale and delivery, either of which is a violation of § 44-53-370(e)(1)(b). The entirety of the conduct sought to be proved in the first case, i.e. trafficking in cocaine, does not establish any single element of the offense prosecuted in the subsequent case, trafficking in marijuana. There is no species of lesser-included offense involved here.

Nor did the prosecution seek to prove the same conduct in both cases since a different controlled substance was the subject of the prosecution in each case. Even the element of "conspiracy" common to both prosecutions was proved by different conduct.

The marijuana conspiracy was proved by evidence of a long-term arrangement with the Martinez brothers to supply the Wilsons with approximately 100 pounds of marijuana twice a month. At the start of the relationship between the Wilsons and the Martinezes, Ronnie and Steve travelled to San Antonio, Texas, to purchase marijuana from Roberto and Ramon Martinez. Walter Wilson was the driver on at least two of these trips. Eventually, the Martinez brothers began delivering the marijuana to the Wilsons in South Carolina for an increased price per pound. Walter sometimes paid for the deliveries when they arrived. Only the conduct regarding the ongoing marijuana deals with the Martinez brothers was proved to establish a conspiracy to traffick in marijuana.

The State sought to prove different conduct to establish the cocaine conspiracy. Steve once purchased an ounce of cocaine worth $2,000 from a man named Dickie Hunt in McCormick, South Carolina. Steve sold cocaine to different buyers in amounts ranging from 1/8 ounce to one ounce. Walter delivered cocaine to at least one buyer from his residence in Saluda, South Carolina, and also accepted payment for cocaine. The only evidence of a cocaine sale in relation to the Martinez connection is one occasion during a marijuana deal when Roberto asked Steve if he "had any extra" and Steve sold him $150 worth of cocaine. This exchange was clearly not an integral part of the arrangement for biweekly marijuana shipments which continued for years from the Martinezes to the Wilsons.

Appellants make much of the prosecutor's remark at the first trial that there was "a main conspiracy" to distribute both cocaine and marijuana. This comment is taken out of context. It was made during argument to the trial judge to admit the marijuana-related evidence in appellants' trial for cocaine trafficking only to show motive or intent as permitted under State v. Lyle, 125 S.C. 406, 118 S.E. 803 (1923). It is clear from the State's case that it sought to prove a distinct course of conduct involving the Martinez brothers to establish the marijuana conspiracy. In fact, the record indicates the trial judge explicitly charged the jury at appellants' trial for cocaine trafficking that the cocaine conspiracy was "a single conspiracy" as opposed to the marijuana conspiracy involving the Martinez brothers.

In conclusion, we find no double jeopardy violation under Grady v. Corbin.

B. State v. Dasher Analysis

Appellants contend the indictment for trafficking in marijuana should have been quashed under State v. Dasher, 278 S.C. 454, 298 S.E.2d 215 (1982). In Dasher, the defendants were charged in two separate indictments with "conspiring to distribute controlled substances." At the trial on the first indictment, the State introduced evidence of conduct involving cocaine dealing. At a subsequent trial on the second indictment, the State sought to prove substantially the same conduct involving marijuana. Although Grady v. Corbin had not yet been decided, this Court, noting that the gravamen of the crime of conspiracy is an agreement, found a double jeopardy violation since the conduct proved in both cases established an agreement to import drugs for distribution in Lexington County.

The case before us today, however, is distinguishable. As discussed above, the State sought to prove a distinct course of conduct concerning the marijuana conspiracy and different conduct concerning the cocaine conspiracy. The first prosecution was for a violation of § 44-53-370(e)(2)(e) (conspiring to traffick in cocaine); the subsequent prosecution was for a violation of § 44-53-370(e)(1)(b) (conspiring to traffick in marijuana). This is unlike the situation in Dasher where the defendants were charged in both prosecutions with a general conspiracy to violate the Controlled Substances Act. Here, conspiring to traffick in cocaine and conspiring to traffick in marijuana are themselves two separate substantive We find Dasher is distinguishable from the case at hand and conclude appellants' argument is without merit.

                offenses under subsection (e) of § 44-53-370. 5  Thus, the agreement alone is not the gravamen of the offenses in question.   Each conspiracy offense is statutorily defined by what controlled substance is the object of the agreement.   The State therefore has alleged two separate conspiracies requiring different proof
                
C. Ashe v. Swenson Analysis

Finally, appellants contend the Double Jeopardy Clause bars the indictment for trafficking in marijuana under Ashe v. Swenson, 397 U.S. 436, 90 S.Ct. 1189, 25 L.Ed.2d 469 (1970). In that case, the United States Supreme Court applied a collateral estoppel analysis to find a double jeopardy bar to a subsequent prosecution. The defendant was tried and acquitted of robbing one of the six victims robbed at a poker game. He was subsequently charged with robbing another victim of the same robbery. The Court held that...

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  • United States v. Hope
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit
    • March 9, 2022
    ...did not violate double jeopardy because marijuana was a separate element of a § 370(e) offense. State v. Wilson , 311 S.C. 382, 429 S.E.2d 453, 454 (S.C. 1993), abrogated on other grounds by State v. Easler , 327 S.C. 121, 489 S.E.2d 617 (S.C. 1997). But see, United States v. Barcenas-Yanez......
  • State v. Easler
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • April 2, 1996
    ...analysis relied on a determination of whether one offense was a "species of lesser-included offense" of the other. See State v. Wilson, 311 S.C. 382, 429 S.E.2d 453 (1993) (discussing and applying the Grady v. Corbin Grady v. Corbin was overruled, however, in United States v. Dixon, 509 U.S......
  • State v. Easler
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    • South Carolina Supreme Court
    • June 3, 1997
    ...punishments for a single act. See Missouri v. Hunter, 459 U.S. 359, 103 S.Ct. 673, 74 L.Ed.2d 535 (1983); State v. Wilson, 311 S.C. 382, 388-390, 429 S.E.2d 453 (1993) (when there are multiple punishments imposed in the same trial, the Double Jeopardy Clause does no more than prevent the se......
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    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • March 10, 1995
    ...(1990) and State v. Dasher, 278 S.C. 454, 298 S.E.2d 215 (1982). The case at hand is very similar to the 1993 case of State v. Wilson, 311 S.C. 382, 429 S.E.2d 453 (1993) wherein our Supreme Court found no double jeopardy violation. In Wilson, the state-wide grand jury indicted family membe......
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