FRANK HERBERT DOZIER JR v. THE STATE OF TEXAS

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Court of Appeals of Texas, Texarkana.

FRANK HERBERT DOZIER, JR., Appellant v. THE STATE OF TEXAS, Appellee

No. 06-16-00031-CR

Decided: February 24, 2017

Before Morriss, C.J., Moseley and Burgess, JJ.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

A jury convicted Frank Herbert Dozier, Jr., of possessing marihuana in an amount of more than four ounces but less than five pounds. In accordance with the jury's verdict, the trial court sentenced Dozier to twenty-four months' confinement in state jail and ordered him to pay a $9,500.00 fine.

Pursuant to a search warrant, officers found the drugs in the trunk of a car parked outside of a “stash house” at a time when Dozier was not present. On appeal,1 Dozier challenges the legal sufficiency of the evidence supporting the jury's finding that the drugs belonged to him. Because we find that legally sufficient evidence links Dozier to the marihuana, we overrule his sole point of error and affirm the trial court's judgment.

In our opinion in companion cause number 06-16-00030-CR, we set forth the facts involved in this case, as well as the standard of review. There, we found the evidence legally sufficient to link Dozier to the methamphetamine found in the Grove house. Here, we analyze Dozier's claim that the evidence is legally insufficient to connect him to the marihuana found in the Crown Victoria parked outside of the Grove house.

Specifically, Dozier argues that the evidence is insufficient because someone else lived in the Grove house, and “[t]here is no evidence that [Dozier] either owned, lived in, or spent significant time at the Grove Street house.” We disagree.

We have recognized that the following factors, or links, tend to establish a person's possession of contraband:

(1) the accused's presence when a search is conducted; (2) whether the contraband was in plain view; (3) the accused's proximity to and the accessibility of the narcotic; (4) whether the accused was under the influence of narcotics when arrested; (5) whether the accused possessed other contraband or narcotics when arrested; (6) whether the accused made incriminating statements when arrested; (7) whether the accused attempted to flee; (8) whether the accused made furtive gestures; (9) whether there was an odor of contraband; (10) whether other contraband or drug paraphernalia were present; (11) whether the accused owned or had the right to possess the place where the drugs were found; (12) whether the place where the drugs were found was enclosed; (13) whether the accused was found with a large amount of cash; and (14) whether the conduct of the accused indicated a consciousness of guilt.

Hutchison v. State, 424 S.W.3d 164, 170–71 (Tex. App.—Texarkana 2014, no pet.) (citing Wright v. State, 401 S.W.3d 813, 818–19 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2013, pet. ref'd); Evans v. State, 202 S.W.3d 158, 162 n.12 (Tex. Crim. App. 2006)). “The number of links present is not as important as the degree to which they tend to link the defendant to the controlled substance.” Id. at 172. Moreover, although “each defendant must still be affirmatively linked with the drugs he allegedly possessed, ․ this link need no longer be so strong that it excludes every other outstanding reasonable hypothesis except the defendant's guilt.” Brown v. State, 911 S.W.2d 744, 748 (Tex. Crim. App. 1995).

In this case, Dozier was not present during the search of the Crown Victoria or the Grove house, was not under the influence of drugs when arrested, did not make incriminating statements or furtive gestures, and did not attempt to flee. While we agree with Dozier that a number of the links did not apply in this case, we disagree with his conclusion that the State failed to link him to the marihuana.

The evidence at trial demonstrated that Dozier was a drug dealer who had acquired the Grove house as a “stash house.” He was present when a different location, the Lamar house 2 was searched. There, officers found three bags of marihuana that were packaged to sell on the porch where Dozier was standing, marihuana in plain view inside of the house, and more marihuana in the maroon Grand Marquis, which officers knew Dozier drove often. They also caught Dozier carrying a loaded gun, a large amount of cash, and a set of keys that opened the Crown Victoria and the Grove house front door.

The testimony of Dozier's girlfriend, Deidra Sims, established (1) that Dozier had access to the Grove house, (2) that the Crown Victoria parked in front of the Grove house belonged to Dozier, and (3) that Dozier sold methamphetamine and marihuana from the Grove house. Anson Amis testified that, on the day before Dozier's arrest, he witnessed Dozier conduct a drug deal with Josh Whitworth and Freddy Anderson, Sr., from the Grove house. When Whitworth was pulled over after a transaction at the Grove house, he had both marihuana and methamphetamine on his person. At trial, Whitworth and Anderson both testified that Dozier was their drug dealer and that he sold methamphetamine and marihuana out of the Grove house.

Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the jury's verdict, we conclude that a rational jury could find, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Dozier exercised control, management, or care over the marihuana found in the Crown Victoria, which was parked in front of the Grove house. Because we find that sufficient evidence linked Dozier to the marihuana, we overrule his sole point of error.

We affirm the trial court's judgment.

FOOTNOTES

1.   In related cause number 06-16-00030-CR, Dozier also appeals from his conviction of possession of, within a drug-free zone, more than four but less than 200 grams of methamphetamine, with intent to deliver.

2.   A house located at 1418 Lamar Avenue, Paris, Texas. See our opinion in the companion cause number 06-16-00030-CR.

Josh R. Morriss, III Chief Justice