Appeal by Defendant from judgment dated 6 September 2006 by
Judge J.B. Allen, Jr. in Superior Court, Wake County. Heard in the
Court of Appeals 12 September 2007.
Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Assistant Attorney General
David W. Boone, for the State.
William D. Auman, for Defendant.
Rahlondo Shukell Lane (Defendant) was convicted on 6 September
2006 of felonious possession of stolen goods. The trial court
sentenced Defendant to a term of six months to eight months in
prison. Defendant appeals.
The evidence presented at trial tended to show the following:
Sri Budi Utomo (Mr. Utomo) worked as a deliveryman at a restaurant
in Raleigh, North Carolina. Mr. Utomo returned from a delivery
around 10:30 p.m. on 9 October 2005 and parked his 1994 Honda
Accord in front of the restaurant. Mr. Utomo turned off the car,
but left the keys in the ignition. He then went inside the
restaurant to prepare for another delivery. When Mr. Utomo
returned ten minutes later, his car was gone. He immediatelycalled police to report the vehicle missing.
Later that week, law enforcement officers recovered Mr.
Utomo's car from a U-Haul parking lot in Raleigh. The car had
sustained some minor damage, and a subwoofer and amplifier were
missing from the car. The police approached William Junior Danzy
II (Mr. Danzy), a U-Haul employee, and asked if he had any
information regarding the vehicle. Mr. Danzy gave police a
security video that showed the vehicle being driven onto the U-Haul
lot. Defendant's mother, Robyn Dineen Lane (Ms. Lane), viewed the
security video at trial and testified that the driver of the
vehicle appeared to be her son.
Police took Defendant into custody on 14 March 2006. Raleigh
Police Detective Leonard L. Herrington (Detective Herrington)
informed Defendant of his Miranda rights. Defendant waived his
rights and agreed to give a statement to Detective Herrington. The
State later introduced Defendant's statement at trial. According
to Defendant's statement, he and a person named Donzell were
outside the restaurant where Mr. Utomo worked on the night of 9
October 2005. Defendant and Donzell observed Mr. Utomo exit his
car while leaving it running. Despite telling Defendant that he
did not know how to drive, Donzell got into the driver's seat of
the car and drove away, with Defendant in the passenger seat.
Several days later, Defendant was driving the car while Donzell was
at school. The car's tire caught on fire, and Defendant pulled the
car into the U-Haul parking lot. After putting out the fire,
Defendant cleaned the car, retrieved his belongings, and took a bushome. Defendant also later admitted to his mother that he had
driven Mr. Utomo's vehicle.
The trial court instructed the jury on both felonious and non-
felonious possession of stolen goods. The jury convicted Defendant
on the felony charge. Defendant argues that the trial court erred
by overruling his objection to the introduction of the U-Haul
security video at trial, and also by denying his motion to dismiss
based on the insufficiency of the State's evidence. We find no
Defendant first assigns as error the trial court's overruling
of his objection to the introduction of the U-Haul security video.
Defendant contends that the State did not lay a proper foundation
for this evidence, and that he was prejudiced as a result of the
improper admission of the video.
Videotapes are admissible to the same extent and for the same
purposes as photographs. State v. Cannon
, 92 N.C. App. 246, 254,
374 S.E.2d 604, 608 (1988), rev'd in part on other grounds
N.C. 37, 387 S.E.2d 450 (1990). See
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 8C-1, Rule
1001(2) (2005) (defining "photographs" to include videotapes and
motion pictures). We have previously described the foundational
requirements for introduction of videotapes:
The prerequisite that the offeror lay a proper
foundation for the videotape can be met by:
(1) testimony that the motion picture or
videotape fairly and accurately illustrates
the events filmed (illustrative purposes); (2)
"proper testimony concerning the checking and
operation of the video camera and the chain of
evidence concerning the videotape . . ."; (3)testimony that "the photographs introduced at
trial were the same as those [the witness] had
inspected immediately after processing"
(substantive purposes); or (4) "testimony that
the videotape had not been edited, and that
the picture fairly and accurately recorded the
actual appearance of the area 'photographed.'"
, 92 N.C. App. at 254, 374 S.E.2d at 608-09 (alteration in
original) (internal citations omitted).
Defendant argues that the State did not meet any of these
requirements. Specifically, Defendant claims that Mr. Danzy could
not recall what day the car arrived on the U-Haul lot, or the date
when he first saw the security video. Nor did Mr. Danzy testify as
to whether the tape had been edited, or whether the surveillance
system had been functioning properly. Further, Defendant claims
that the State offered no evidence to establish a chain of custody
for the videotape between the date it was recorded and the date it
was shown at trial.
Defendant relies on State v. Sibley
, 140 N.C. App. 584, 537
S.E.2d 835 (2000), to demonstrate that under these circumstances,
the videotape was inadmissible. In Sibley
, the State introduced
into evidence a videotape showing the defendant holding a number of
at 585, 537 S.E.2d at 837. The State offered chain-
of-custody evidence, but offered no evidence that the camera
functioned properly or that the video accurately represented the
scene at the time it was recorded. Id.
at 586, 537 S.E.2d at 838.
With none of the four possible foundational options set out in
satisfied, we held that the videotape "[was] not properly
authenticated and thus [was] not admissible for any purpose." Id.
at 587, 537 S.E.2d at 838.
Defendant's reliance on Sibley
is unavailing, however, because
his characterization of the State's foundational proffer in the
case before us is inaccurate. It is true that Mr. Danzy did not
identify a specific date when Mr. Utomo's car appeared on the U-
Haul lot. Nor did Mr. Danzy identify a specific date when police
questioned him, or when he first saw the security video. However,
Mr. Danzy was nevertheless certain that Mr. Utomo's car appeared
some time between 9 October and 11 October 2005. Further, Mr.
Danzy testified that, although he was not certain, he believed he
spoke with police and gave them the security video on Thursday of
that week, which would have been 13 October 2005. Mr. Danzy also
described the video security system at the U-Haul business,
including the specific locations where security cameras were
installed. According to Mr. Danzy, one camera was pointed in the
exact location where Mr. Utomo's car was found. Mr. Danzy was sure
of this because he personally helped install the camera. He also
testified that the video equipment was operating properly, and that
the contents of the video as shown at trial were identical to the
contents of the video when he viewed it in October 2005. Mr. Danzy
explained that because of the technology used in recording and
maintaining the security video, he was confident that it had never
been edited or altered.
As for chain-of-custody evidence, Detective Herrington
Detective Porterfield, also with the Raleigh Police
Department, interviewed Mr. Danzy at the U-Haul business andretrieved the video from Mr. Danzy at that time by downloading it
from the U-Haul security system. Detective Porterfield then
brought the video to Detective Herrington. This testimony was
sufficient to establish an adequate chain of custody for
admissibility purposes. See State v. Fleming
, 350 N.C. 109, 131,
512 S.E.2d 720, 736, cert. denied
, 528 U.S. 941, 145 L. Ed. 2d 274
(1999) ("'A detailed chain of custody need be established only when
the evidence offered is not readily identifiable or is susceptible
to alteration and there is reason to believe that it may have been
altered.' Any weak links in the chain of custody pertain only to
the weight to be given to the evidence and not to its
admissibility." (internal citation omitted) (quoting State v.
, 311 N.C. 386, 389, 317 S.E.2d 391, 392 (1984))).
In sum, the State's foundational evidence for the videotape
clearly satisfied the requirements set forth in Cannon
the trial court did not err in admitting the evidence over
Defendant's objection, and the video could have been properly
considered for any purpose. Any remaining deficiencies concerning
the videotape were for the jury to consider in assessing the weight
of the evidence. See State v. Mewborn
, 131 N.C. App. 495, 498-99,
507 S.E.2d 906, 909 (1998) (trial court did not err in allowing
admission of grocery store surveillance video where State
introduced sufficient chain-of-custody evidence and other evidence
to satisfy foundational requirements set out in Cannon
In addition to his foundational attack, Defendant argues that
introduction of the U-Haul videotape violated his right to confrontwitnesses against him, as guaranteed by the Sixth and Fourteenth
Amendments to the United States Constitution. Defendant cites
Crawford v. Washington
, 541 U.S. 36, 158 L. Ed. 2d 177 (2004) to
support this claim. At trial, Defendant objected to the
introduction of the videotape on foundational grounds (T pp.35-43),
but did not raise a Crawford
objection. Therefore, Defendant's
argument is not properly before this Court. See State v. Chapman
359 N.C. 328, 366, 611 S.E.2d 794, 822 (2005) ("constitutional
error will not be considered for the first time on appeal"); State
, ___ N.C. App. ___, ___, 642 S.E.2d 459, 468, disc.
, ___ N.C. ___, ___, ___ S.E.2d ___, ___ (2007)
and declining to address the defendant's Crawford
argument where the defendant objected to introduction of evidence
at trial but did not state the grounds for his objection). This
assignment of error is dismissed.
Defendant next assigns as error the trial court's denial of
his motion to dismiss the charge against him based on the
insufficiency of the State's evidence.
To survive a motion to dismiss based on insufficient evidence,
the State must present "substantial evidence (1) of each essential
element of the offense charged, or of a lesser offense included
therein, and (2) of [the] defendant's being the perpetrator of such
offense." State v. Powell
, 299 N.C. 95, 98, 261 S.E.2d 114, 117
(1980). Substantial evidence exists if, considered in the light
most favorable to the State, the evidence "gives rise to areasonable inference of guilt." State v. Jones
, 303 N.C. 500, 504,
279 S.E.2d 835, 838 (1981). However, a defendant's motion to
dismiss must be granted "[i]f the evidence is sufficient only to
raise a suspicion or conjecture as to either the commission of the
offense or the identity of the defendant as the perpetrator of
, 299 N.C. at 98, 261 S.E.2d at 117.
The elements of felonious possession of stolen property under
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-71.1 and N.C. Gen Stat. § 14-72 are: "(1)
possession of personal property; (2) having a value in excess of
$[1000.00]; (3) which has been stolen; (4) the possessor knowing or
having reasonable grounds to believe the property was stolen; and
(5) the possessor acting with a dishonest purpose." State v.
, 97 N.C. App. 19, 25, 387 S.E.2d 211, 214 (1990).
Defendant first contends that element three was not met
because there was no evidence that Defendant intended to
permanently deprive the owner of the use of the vehicle. According
to Defendant, he could have merely taken the car for a joyride, and
the fact that he parked the vehicle in a U-Haul lot suggests that
he wished for Mr. Utomo to recover it. However, the State's
evidence, and specifically, Defendant's own statement, contradict
Defendant's version of the facts. Defendant admitted that he was
still in possession of Mr. Utomo's car for at least one day after
the car was taken. Defendant drove the car until it caught fire,
at which point he pulled the car into the U-Haul parking lot.
There was no evidence that Defendant would have done the same if
the car had not caught on fire. Defendant's statement, therefore,supports a reasonable inference that Defendant did not merely take
the vehicle for a joyride, but rather intended to possess the car
Defendant next argues that he did not know the car was stolen,
and that he did not act with a dishonest purpose, thus negating
elements four and five of the offense. Again, Defendant's own
statement demonstrates otherwise. Defendant admitted that he and
his companion, Donzell, observed Mr. Utomo inside the vehicle
shortly before they drove the vehicle away. Defendant suggests
that, for all he knew, the car belonged to Donzell. However,
according to Defendant's statement, Donzell informed Defendant that
he did not know how to drive. The fact that Donzell did not know
how to operate the vehicle should have put Defendant on notice that
the vehicle did not belong to Donzell.
Further, other overwhelming evidence suggests that Defendant
acted with a dishonest purpose. In addition to the evidence noted
above, Mr. Utomo's subwoofer and amplifier were missing from the
car when it was recovered. There was a dent near the gas tank, the
inside of the car was filled with litter, and the outside of the
car was covered in mud. Defendant admitted in his statement that
after he parked the car in the U-Haul lot, he "wiped the car down,"
suggesting that Defendant was attempting to avoid criminal
liability by removing evidence of his wrongdoing.
We find that the State presented substantial evidence that
Defendant committed each element of the offense of felonious
possession of stolen goods. Therefore, we hold that the trialcourt did not err by denying Defendant's motion to dismiss.
Judges TYSON and ELMORE concur.
Report per Rule 30(e).
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