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Court of Appeal of Florida, First District
February 26, 1998, Opinion Filed
CASE NO. 96-3444
[*828] Arthur Wagner III (Wagner) seeks review on direct appeal from his convictions and sentences in two cases of sale of cocaine within 1000 feet of a school, and one case of sale of cocaine. Wagner asserts that the trial court erred in: (1) denying his motion for judgment of acquittal, (2) admitting into evidence a videotape of the alleged drug buys, (3) restricting Wagner's cross-examination of Robert Duncan, the officer in charge of the investigation, (4) granting consolidation of the charges for trial, and (5) imposing a seventy-five year sentence for selling a twenty-dollar rock of crack cocaine as constituting cruel and unusual punishment under article I, section [**2] 17, of the Florida Constitution. We affirm.
[*829] The facts of this case are as follows. Officer Duncan, an investigator with the Special Investigations Division of the Bay County Sheriff's Office, on December 15, 1995, enlisted the aid of a female confidential informant to make drug purchases. The informant made the purchases from an automobile equipped with a hidden video camera which provided a view of the driver's window. Officer Duncan gave a detailed explanation as to the installation and operation of the camera. He explained the manner in which he mounted a Sony recording device in the trunk of a county-owned vehicle, attached by wire to a camera and microphone positioned on the rear window tray of the vehicle. The camera and lens were covered by a blanket containing a small hole through which the camera lens protruded. He further testified that he tested the apparatus and that it was in good order and was working properly during the time of the drug investigation.
The vehicle was searched and the informant was strip-searched by a female employee before the informant was sent to the purchase area. No contraband or currency was found. Officer Duncan then gave the informant twenty [**3] dollars, turned on the video recorder, verbally recorded the date and time, and sent the informant to the purchase area along 16th street. Officer Duncan followed the informant in a separate vehicle, but when approaching Wagner's area on 16th street, he diverted his vehicle to a course on 17th street, parallel with the informant's vehicle. He observed the informant during most of her travel to and from the purchase area, but did not observe the actual transaction for fear of being detected. The videotape showed that the informant stopped the car and remained seated when Wagner approached her and conversed with her through the driver's window. Wagner, within a few seconds of his approach, handed the informant something and she handed him what appeared to be United States currency. The informant, upon return to a prearranged location, presented Officer Duncan with a twenty-dollar rock of cocaine. Officer Duncan then turned off the video camera. After waiting for approximately thirty minutes, Officer Duncan turned the video camera back on, verbally recorded the time and date, gave the informant another twenty dollars, and sent her back to the same area where she made the first purchase. [**4] The informant once again returned with a rock of cocaine. This process was repeated a third time under the same circumstances and with the same results. The drug transactions thus ended with three separate purchases of crack cocaine under virtually identical circumstances, 1 occurring over a total period of approximately one hour, and all occurring within the same block on 16th street. The three transactions were videotaped on one reel of tape, and the audio portion reflected the date and time of each of the three transactions.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
707 So. 2d 827 *; 1998 Fla. App. LEXIS 1887 **; 23 Fla. L. Weekly D 657
ARTHUR WAGNER, III, Appellant, v. STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee.
Subsequent History: [**1] Rehearing Denied April 3, 1998. Released for Publication April 21, 1998. Petition for Review Denied May 20, 1998, Reported at: 1998 Fla. LEXIS 955.
Prior History: An appeal from the Circuit Court for Bay County. Dedee S. Costello, Judge.
informant, videotape, camera, cocaine, photographs, tape, sentences, authenticated, drug sale, transactions, connected, silent, photographic evidence, trial judge, consolidation, approached, custody, episode, felony, window, instant case, video camera, seventy-five, depicted, offenses, tampered, prison, film
Evidence, Admissibility, Demonstrative Evidence, Criminal Law & Procedure, Standards of Review, Abuse of Discretion, General Overview, Types of Evidence, Demonstrative Evidence, Photographs, Photographs, Visual Formats, Search Warrants, Affirmations & Oaths, Authentication, Foundational Requirements, Accusatory Instruments, Joinder & Severance, Consolidation, Constitutional Law, Bill of Rights, Fundamental Rights, Cruel & Unusual Punishment, Sentencing, Proportionality, Concurrent Sentences, Adjustments & Enhancements, Criminal History, Three Strikes