STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
No. 03 CRS 55321
ALEX JEROME TROGDON
Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Assistant Attorney General
Christine A. Goebel, for the State.
Haral E. Carlin for Defendant.
Alex Trogden (Defendant) appeals from judgment entered on his convictions of felony possession of cocaine and misdemeanor possession of marijuana. We find no error.
Defendant was tried before a Randolph County jury in a trial beginning 12 December 2006. The State's evidence tended to show, in relevant part, the following: Detective Arthur Heaton of the Asheboro Police Department testified that on 11 August 2003 he was on duty when he learned that there was an outstanding arrest warrant for a man named Randall Chriscoe. A few minutes later, Heaton saw Chriscoe riding in the front passenger seat of a car being driven by Defendant. Defendant pulled into a driveway a fewblocks away, and Heaton followed. After Heaton arrested Chriscoe, he searched the car. Defendant first told Heaton that the car was his, and later clarified that it was owned by his girlfriend but that Defendant frequently drove it.
Defendant's car had front bucket seats separated by a storage bin described by Heaton as a console. When Heaton opened the console he found two plastic bags; one contained green vegetable matter, the other a whitish rock. Based on his law enforcement experience, Heaton concluded that the bags held marijuana and crack cocaine. After Heaton found the bags containing drugs, Defendant was arrested and charged with felonious possession of cocaine and misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Later testing by the State Bureau of Investigation confirmed that one bag contained 3.2 grams of crack cocaine and the other held 6.3 grams of marijuana.
Asheboro Police Officer Arthur Milligan testified that on 11 August 2003 he told Heaton about the outstanding arrest warrant for Mr. Chriscoe. When Heaton located Chriscoe, Milligan joined him and observed the discovery of drugs in Defendant's car. Milligan testified that Defendant did not appear surprised and did not deny ownership of the drugs.
The Defendant testified that on 11 August 2003 he was running an errand at a corner store, when he happened to see Chriscoe and two other men. Defendant agreed to give Chriscoe and the others a ride to the home of a mutual friend named Jody. As Defendant was driving Chriscoe and the other two men to Jody's, he noticed a police car. Shortly after he arrived at Jody's house, Heatonpulled his patrol car into the driveway behind Defendant. After arresting Chriscoe, Heaton searched Defendant's car. Defendant testified that he was clueless about the fact that drugs were in his car; that the drugs were not his, and that he had no idea how drugs came to be in his console. On cross-examination, Defendant testified, inter alia, that neither he nor his wife were affiliated with drugs. However, on further cross-examination he admitted that in 1999 he was arrested for cocaine possession and had admitted his possession in court.
On rebuttal, the State presented the testimony of Heaton, that, in regards to the trait of having a law abiding character when it comes to drugs, Defendant's reputation was bad.
Following the presentation of evidence, Defendant was convicted of felonious possession of cocaine and misdemeanor possession of marijuana. The court imposed a suspended sentence of six to eight months imprisonment, and Defendant was placed on supervised probation. From this judgment and sentence, Defendant has appealed.
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