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State v. Gillum

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, First Division

April 30, 2019

STATE OF MISSOURI, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
JERRY RAY GILLUM, Defendant-Appellant.

          APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF BUTLER COUNTY Honorable Michael M. Pritchett

          DON E. BURRELL, P.J

         Jerry Ray Gillum ("Defendant") was convicted after a jury trial of the class D felony of resisting arrest[1] and the class C felony of possession of a controlled substance. See sections 575.150, RSMo 2016, and 195.202.[2] In a single point on appeal, Defendant claims the trial court erred in denying his motion for judgment of acquittal because the evidence adduced at trial was insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Defendant knowingly and consciously possessed methamphetamine. Finding no merit in that claim, we affirm.

         Standard of Review

"When considering the sufficiency of the evidence on appeal, this Court must determine whether sufficient evidence permits a reasonable juror to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." State v. Wright, 382 S.W.3d 902, 903 (Mo. banc 2012) (internal quotation omitted). "The evidence and all reasonable inferences therefrom are viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict, disregarding any evidence and inferences contrary to the verdict." Id. "This is not an assessment of whether the Court believes that the evidence at trial established guilt beyond a reasonable doubt but rather a question of whether, in light of the evidence most favorable to the State, any rational fact-finder could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt." Id.

State v. Stewart, 560 S.W.3d 531, 533 (Mo. banc 2018).

         Facts

         Viewed in the light most favorable to the judgment, id., the evidence presented at trial was as follows. At approximately 10:00 a.m. on August 23, 2016, Deputy Benjamin Chamblin with the Butler County Sheriff's Office ("Deputy Chamblin") observed an older model Chevy truck with expired tags. Deputy Chamblin activated his emergency lights to conduct a traffic stop, but the truck did not pull over. Deputy Chamblin then activated his siren, but the truck continued on, running both a red light and a stop sign before hitting a guard rail and sliding down a hill. When the truck came to a stop, the driver and passenger exited and began running in different directions. Deputy Chamblin pursued the driver. After a hundred-yard chase, Deputy Chamblin caught up to the driver, Defendant, and took him into custody.

         At the request of Deputy Chamblin, another deputy, Aaron Pratt ("Deputy Pratt"), transported Defendant to the sheriff's office for booking into the jail. When Deputy Pratt searched Defendant during the booking process, he found a syringe in Defendant's right front pocket. Deputy Pratt described the syringe as clear, very small in diameter, with an orange cap. The syringe contained a small amount of liquid. Deputy Pratt seized the syringe and placed it into evidence. The syringe was later submitted to the Missouri State Highway Patrol Crime Laboratory, where it tested positive for methamphetamine.

         Analysis

Defendant's point claims:
The trial court erred in overruling [Defendant]'s motions for judgment of acquittal and in imposing sentence and judgment upon him . . . in that sufficient evidence was not presented from which a reasonable juror could have found beyond a reasonable doubt that he knowingly and consciously was in possession of methamphetamine based on the used syringe with residue found in his pocket when he was arrested.

We disagree.

         Section 195.202 makes it "unlawful for any person to possess or have under his control a controlled substance." A person "possess[es] a controlled substance" when, "with the knowledge of the presence and nature of a substance, [he] has actual or constructive possession of the substance. A person has actual possession if he has the substance on his person or within easy reach and convenient control." Section 195.010(34). "In order to sustain a conviction for possession of a controlled substance, the State must show (1) that the defendant consciously and intentionally possessed the substance; and (2) the defendant was aware of the presence and nature of the ...


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