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State v. Miranda

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

August 19, 2014

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
DANIEL MIRANDA

Heard in the Court of Appeals March 19, 2014

Page 350

Johnston County. No. 12 CRS 54432.

Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Special Deputy Attorney General Melody R. Hairston Ms., for the State.

N.C. Prisoner Legal Services, by Mary E. McNeill Ms., for Defendant.

ERVIN, Judge. Judges GEER and STEPHENS concur.

OPINION

Page 351

Appeal by defendant from judgment entered 2 August 2013 by Judge Thomas H. Lock in Johnston County Superior Court. Heard in the Court of Appeals 19 March 2014.

ERVIN, Judge.

Defendant Daniel Miranda appeals from a judgment entered based upon his convictions for trafficking in between 28 and 200 grams of cocaine by manufacturing and felonious possession of cocaine. On appeal, Defendant argues that the trafficking in cocaine by manufacturing indictment that had been returned against him was fatally defective, that the trial court committed plain error by failing to instruct the jury concerning the issue of his guilt of the lesser included offense of manufacturing cocaine, that the trial court committed plain error by failing to instruct the jury that a conviction for trafficking in cocaine by manufacturing based upon compounding required a finding that Defendant intended to distribute the substance in question, and that the record did not contain sufficient evidence to support his conviction for trafficking in cocaine by manufacturing. After careful consideration of Defendant's challenges to the trial court's judgment in light of the record and the applicable law, we conclude that the trial court's judgment should remain undisturbed.

I. Factual Background

A. Substantive Facts

On 19 July 2012, Detectives Randall Ackley and Brad Gillis of the Johnston County Sheriff's Office went to Defendant's mobile home in Benson. Upon arriving at that location, the investigating officers met Defendant and his sister, informed Defendant that they had come to his residence for the purpose of serving outstanding warrants, and asked Defendant to identify the room that he occupied. In response to this inquiry, Defendant indicated that he occupied a room located at the far end of the mobile home.

After Defendant's father arrived at the residence, he consented to allow the investigating officers to conduct a search of the mobile home. As a result, Defendant led Detective Ackley into the interior of the mobile home and down the hallway to his room. As he entered Defendant's bedroom, Detective

Page 352

Ackley observed the presence of several items that caused him to ask Defendant to leave the room and wait in the mobile home's living room with Detective Gillis while he conducted his search.

At the time that he initially inspected the bedroom, Detective Ackley noted a mirror that had been placed against the wall and observed an end table on which were situated cellular phones, two digital scales, and a bag containing a green leafy substance that Detective Ackley believed to be marijuana, based upon his training and experience. In addition, Detective Ackley found a box of plastic bags on the coffee table in the bedroom. After looking behind the mirror, Detective Ackley found an orange pill bottle that contained a white substance. After making this discovery, Detective Ackley repositioned the mirror and went to the living room to get Detective Gillis.

When the investigating officers reached Defendant's bedroom, Detective Ackley showed Detective Gillis what he had discovered on the table and behind the mirror and asked Defendant to enter the room. At that point, Detective Gillis asked Defendant if there were any other illegal items in his room and received a negative response. After the investigating officers seized the pill bottle, in which two plastic bags containing a white substance were situated, Detective Gillis told Defendant that he believed that the bottle contained a controlled substance and asked Defendant several times if he knew what the substance was. Although he initially claimed to be ignorant of the substance's identity, Defendant eventually said, " [i]t is what you said it is." A laboratory analysis of the contents of the pill bottle revealed the presence of two plastic bags, one of which contained approximately 21.5 grams of cocaine base and the other of which contained a mixture of rice and cocaine base weighing approximately 28.26 grams.

On 20 July 2012, the investigating officers conducted a videotaped interview of Defendant. During the interview, Detective Ackley informed Defendant that the investigating officers had seized a sufficiently large amount of controlled substances from his residence to suggest that he was selling cocaine. Although Defendant denied having sold a controlled substance, he did admit to having mixed rice with the cocaine base to eliminate ...


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