in the Court of Appeals 17 October 2019.
by Defendant from judgment entered 11 September 2017 by Judge
Forrest D. Bridges in Cleveland County, Nos. 15CRS988-90,
16CRS213 Superior Court.
Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Assistant Attorney
General Kimberly Randolph, for the State-Appellee.
Bleyman for Defendant-Appellant.
Paul Edward Dawkins appeals from the trial court's 11
September 2017 judgment entered upon his (1) convictions for
one count of possession with intent to sell or deliver
cocaine and one count of sale or delivery of cocaine, (2)
guilty pleas to two counts of both possession with intent to
sell and deliver cocaine and sale and delivery of cocaine,
and (3) admission to having attained habitual felon status.
Defendant contends that the trial court erred by admitting
certain real evidence and by entering a judgment containing
clerical errors. We discern no error at trial, but remand to
the trial court for the correction of the clerical errors.
January 2015, Detective Jeffrey Scism of the City of Shelby
Police Department Vice/Narcotics Unit (along with other law
enforcement officers) coordinated a controlled drug-buy
operation with the assistance of a paid confidential
informant. During the operation, the informant purchased a
substance in the form of a small rock from Defendant, whom
the officers had suspected of dealing narcotics. Following
the buy, the informant gave the rock to Scism, who field
tested it as presumptive positive for cocaine. Scism placed
the rock in a small evidence bag and later catalogued the
evidence and arranged to have it sent to the State Bureau of
Investigation ("SBI") for further analysis.
was indicted in Cleveland County Superior Court on 11 May
2015 for three counts of possession with intent to sell and
deliver cocaine and three counts of sale and delivery of
cocaine, all in violation of N.C. Gen. Stat. §
90-95(a)(1). On 9 May 2016, Defendant was also indicted for
having attained habitual felon status as set forth N.C. Gen.
Stat. § 14-7.1.
each of the possession with intent to sell and deliver
cocaine and sale and delivery of cocaine charges came on for
trial on 11 January 2017. At trial, the State introduced its
Exhibit 6, an evidence bag which Scism testified contained
the substance he received from the informant on the date of
the drug buy and sent off to the SBI in the form of an
"off-white-colored small rock." Scism testified
that the substance had been smashed, but that it was
"substantially the same" as the rock. Defendant
objected to the admission of Exhibit 6, arguing that
Scism's admission that the substance was in a different
form at trial than it was when Scism received it from the
informant meant that Scism could not reliably testify that
the substance in Exhibit 6 was what the informant gave him,
and that Scism therefore could not authenticate Exhibit 6.
The trial court admitted Exhibit 6 over Defendant's
objection. State's witness Deborah Chancey, an SBI Crime
Laboratory Technician, later testified that she had tested
Exhibit 6 and concluded that it contained cocaine base, as
indicated in State's Exhibit 7, Chancey's laboratory
report containing the results of her test. The jury
subsequently returned verdicts finding Defendant guilty of
that day, Defendant pled guilty to the other charges and
admitted to having attained habitual felon status, and the
trial court sentenced Defendant on the charges as an habitual
felon. The trial court consolidated the sale or delivery
charges under one count and, after adjudging Defendant to be
an habitual felon, sentenced him thereupon to 96 to 128
months' imprisonment. The trial court also consolidated
the possession charges and sentenced Defendant thereupon. The
judgment concerning the possession charges was subsequently
struck and reentered several times, ultimately resulting in
the 11 September 2017 judgment from which Defendant now
September 2017 judgment concerning the possession charges
gave Defendant a mitigated Class D sentence of 76 to 104
months' imprisonment, but (1) while indicating that
Defendant "ADMITTED TO HABITUAL FELON" status, does
not include an indication that the trial court adjudged
Defendant an habitual felon, and (2) while finding that
mitigating factors existed as contemplated "on the
attached AOC-CR-605" form, does not appear to have such
a form attached.
filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with this Court
seeking to belatedly appeal from the judgments, and we
allowed Defendant's petition.