Appeal by defendant from judgments entered 5 August 2003 by
Judge A. Moses Massey in Guilford County Superior Court. Heard in
the Court of Appeals 16 August 2005.
Attorney General Roy A. Cooper, III, by Assistant Attorney
General Barry H. Bloch, for the State.
Winifred H. Dillon for defendant-appellant.
Sharun Bernard Sims (defendant) appeals from judgments dated
5 August 2003 entered consistent with jury verdicts findingdefendant guilty of trafficking in cocaine by possession of at
least 200 grams but less than 400 grams, conspiracy to traffic in
cocaine by possessing more than 400 grams, maintaining a dwelling
for the keeping or selling of a controlled substance, and
trafficking in cocaine by manufacturing at least 200 but less than
400 grams. For the following reasons, we find no error.
The State presented evidence tending to show that on 24
September 2002, a confidential informant made a controlled buy of
about twenty-six grams of cocaine from an inhabitant of 3615 Irwin
Street in Greensboro. The Greensboro Police Department
subsequently searched the residence pursuant to a warrant. Present
in the residence at the time of the search were its residents:
Defendant, his female companion, and their child. After defendant
was handcuffed, he nodded toward the kitchen and stated, it's all
inside there. The officers found in the kitchen cabinets a red
bag containing 181.8 grams of powder cocaine, 4.5 grams of cocaine
base, razor blades, and a digital scale. As the search proceeded,
defendant made a statement acknowledging that the drugs were his.
Later, at the police station, defendant made another statement
indicating that the cocaine found in the house was the remainder of
a half kilo of cocaine he had obtained from a Mexican. Defendant
offered no evidence at trial.
 Defendant first contends that the trial court erred by
denying his motion to dismiss the charge of conspiracy to traffic
in more than 400 grams of cocaine. Defendant argues that hisstatement that he obtained half a kilo from an unidentified Mexican
is insufficient evidence to establish a conspiracy to traffic in
more than 400 grams of cocaine. Specifically, defendant contests
the sufficiency of evidence as to the amount of cocaine.
(See footnote 1)
upon State v. Parker
, 315 N.C. 222, 337 S.E.2d 487 (1985), he
submits that other corroborating evidence besides a naked
confession must be presented. We disagree.
A motion to dismiss requires the court to determine whether
there is substantial evidence to establish each element of the
offense charged and to identify the defendant as the perpetrator.
State v. Earnhardt
, 307 N.C. 62, 65-66, 296 S.E.2d 649, 651 (1982).
This determination is made after considering the evidence in the
light most favorable to the State, giving it the benefit of every
reasonable inference that may be drawn from the evidence. State v.
, 310 N.C. 563, 566, 313 S.E.2d 585, 587 (1984).
Contradictions or discrepancies in the evidence must be resolved
by the jury[.] State v. Thompson
, 157 N.C. App. 638, 642, 580
S.E.2d 9, 12 (2003).
In State v. Parker
, our Supreme Court addressed the issue of
whether there must be direct or circumstantial proof of the corpus
independent of the defendant's confession in order tosustain a conviction. Parker
, 315 N.C. at 227, 337 S.E.2d at 490.
The Court in Parker
determined that while the rule was universal
that an extrajudicial confession, standing alone, is not
sufficient to sustain a conviction of a crime[,] lines of
authority differed as to the quantum and type of corroboration
. at 229, 337 S.E.2d at 491 (footnote omitted).
After reviewing the types of corroboration and justifications for
each rule used in other jurisdictions, our Supreme Court adopted
the federal rule as set out in Opper v. United States
, 348 U.S. 84,
99 L. Ed. 101 (1954). Parker
, 315 N.C. at 236, 337 S.E.2d at 495.
The Supreme Court of North Carolina held that, in non-capital
cases, when the State relies upon the defendant's confession to
obtain a conviction, it is no longer necessary that there be
independent proof tending to establish the corpus delicti
crime charged if the accused's confession is supported by
substantial independent evidence tending to establish its
, the defendant made an extrajudicial confession to
two murders, and confessed to robbing one of the victims of ten
. at 237, 337 S.E.2d at 495-96. Substantial
corroborating evidence was found of the defendant's confession as
to the murders, including the bodies of the victims in the
condition described by the defendant, the murder weapon, and
recovery of bloody clothing. Id
. A wallet belonging to one of the
victims was recovered from a neighbor of the defendant's
. at 237, 337 S.E.2d at 496. The Court found thatalthough there was no independent evidence to prove the corpus
of the armed robbery of one of the victims, the
corroboration of the other details of the defendant's confession
established the trustworthiness of the statement, and the
confession was sufficient to sustain the defendant's conviction for
armed robbery. Id
. at 238-39, 337 S.E.2d at 496-97.
Here, defendant was charged with conspiracy to traffic a
controlled subject pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 90-98,
specifically the possession of more than 400 grams of cocaine.
Evidence to support this charge was presented by the State in the
form of statements by defendant. Following a controlled buy from
defendant of twenty-six grams and a search of defendant's residence
which revealed 181.8 grams of cocaine, defendant was advised of his
Miranda rights and agreed to answer questions. Defendant admitted
that the drugs were his, but stated that counterfeit money
discovered in the residence belonged to a former resident named
Tim. Defendant also answered inquiries about currency-sized cut-up
pieces of newspaper found in the kitchen, stating that he had been
ripped off by another drug dealer and that they had paid him in
newspaper. Defendant was then transported to the police
department and interviewed after again being advised of his Miranda
rights, which defendant waived. Defendant again stated that the
cocaine in the house was his, and that what was found was the
remainder of a half of [a] kilo he purchased from a Mexican.
Defendant stated that he had purchased a half kilo from the Mexican
on three previous occasions, but could no longer purchase from himbecause of an argument over the quality of the last kilo.
Defendant also informed the questioning officers of a location
where they might find the vehicle the Mexican drove, although the
officers were unable to later locate the vehicle at that location.
Defendant's statements that he had purchased a half kilo (500
grams) of cocaine from a Mexican on three occasions provided
sufficient evidence of defendant's conspiracy to traffic in more
than 400 grams of cocaine. Two items of independent proof
establish the trustworthiness of defendant's statement.
First, a substantial quantity of cocaine, 181 grams, was found
in defendant's possession at the time of his arrest. Our courts
have consistently held that one's possession of a substantial
quantity of a controlled substance is sufficient to support a
reasonable inference that the possessor intended to sell or deliver
the substance. Morgan
, 329 N.C. at 659, 406 S.E.2d at 835.
Additionally, a controlled buy was conducted prior to the
search of defendant's home in which an informant purchased twenty-
six grams of cocaine from defendant in his home. Paraphernalia
associated with trafficking was also found in the home, including
razor blades and a digital scale. Such substantial independent
proof tends to establish the trustworthiness of defendant's
statement as to the quantity of cocaine, and provides sufficient
evidence to deny a motion to dismiss. This assignment of error is
 Defendant finally contends the trial court abused its
discretion in failing to find he rendered substantial assistance
leading to the identification, arrest, or conviction of any
accomplices, accessories, or co-conspirators, affecting his
sentence as to all judgments from which he appeals. As defendant
acknowledges, the decision whether or not to find that a defendant
rendered substantial assistance is addressed to the discretion of
the trial judge. State v. Wells
, 104 N.C. App. 274, 276, 410
S.E.2d 393, 394 (1991). The court's decision will not be disturbed
unless it is shown that the court's decision was so arbitrary that
it could not have been the result of a reasoned decision. State v.
, 314 N.C. 460, 473, 334 S.E.2d 741, 749 (1985). Defendant
makes no showing that the trial court's failure to find that
defendant rendered substantial assistance could not have been the
result of a reasoned decision. We, therefore, find no abuse of
Judges McGEE and LEVINSON concur.