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State v. Bussle

October 8, 2010

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
QUILLIE BUSSLE, JR., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Criminal Appeal from the Portage County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2008 CR 0711. Judgment: Affirmed.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Diane V. Grendell, J.

OPINION

{¶1} Defendant-appellant, Quillie Bussle, Jr., appeals his convictions, following a jury trial in the Portage County Court of Common Pleas, for Trafficking in Cocaine, Aggravated Trafficking in Drugs, four counts of Trafficking in Heroin, and Tampering with Evidence. Bussle received an aggregate prison sentence of three years. For the following reasons, we affirm Bussle's convictions.

{¶2} On December 5, 2008, Bussle was indicted by the Portage County Grand Jury for the following: Trafficking in Cocaine (Count One), a felony of the fifth degree in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A) and (C)(4)(a); Aggravated Trafficking in Drugs (Count Two), a felony of the fourth degree in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A) and (C)(1)(a); Trafficking in Heroin (Count Three), a felony of the fifth degree in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A) and (C)(6)(a); Trafficking in Heroin (Count Four), a felony of the fifth degree in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A) and (C)(6)(a); Trafficking in Heroin (Count Five), a felony of the fourth degree in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A) and (C)(6)(b); Trafficking in Heroin (Count Six), a felony of the fourth degree in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(2) and (C)(6)(c); Possessing Criminal Tools (Count Seven), a felony of the fifth degree in violation of R.C. 2923.24(A) and (C); and Tampering with Evidence (Count Eight), a felony of the third degree in violation of R.C. 2921.12(A)(1) and (B).

{¶3} Counts One and Two arose out of a controlled drug buy that occurred on March 26, 2008.

{¶4} Count Three arose out of a controlled drug buy that occurred on November 12, 2008.

{¶5} Count Four arose out of a controlled drug buy that occurred on November 13, 2008.

{¶6} Count Five arose out of a controlled drug buy that occurred on November 17, 2008.

{¶7} Counts Six, Seven, and Eight arose out of Bussle's arrest by agents of the Portage County Drug Task Force that occurred on November 18, 2008.

{¶8} On December 9, 2008, Bussle was arraigned and entered a plea of not guilty to the charges. Counsel was appointed to represent Bussle. Bond was set at $10,000 but not paid and Bussle remained confined at the Portage County Jail.

{¶9} On December 16, 2008, Bussle, through counsel, filed a Demand for Discovery pursuant to Crim.R. 16(A) and (B) and a Request for Bill of Particulars pursuant to Crim.R. 7(E).

{¶10} On January 13, 2009, Bussle, acting pro se, filed a Request for Discovery and Inspection; to Suppress Evidence; and Motion for Acquittal or Dismissal pursuant to Crim.R. 16, Crim.R. 12(C)(3) and (4), Crim.R. 29, and R.C. 2945.15.

{¶11} On February 2, 2009, the State responded to Bussle's discovery request pursuant to Crim.R. 16(B)(1)(e).

{¶12} On February 6, 2009, counsel appointed to represent Bussle filed a Motion to Withdraw as Counsel, citing "a complete breakdown in communication" and Bussle's unwillingness to heed counsel's advice.

{¶13} On February 10, 2009, the trial court granted defense counsel's Motion to Withdraw.

{¶14} On February 13, 2009, new counsel was appointed to represent Bussle.

{¶15} On February 17, 2009, the trial court released Bussle on his own recognizance, pursuant to R.C. 2937.29. On this date, Bussle executed a Waiver of his speedy trial rights.

{¶16} On June 1 through 4, 2009, Bussle was tried before a jury. The following police officers testified on behalf of the State: Lieutenant James Carrozzi of the Portage County Sheriff's Department, Patrolman Duane Ryan Kaley of the Ravenna Police Department, Patrolwoman Joan Bauer of the Ravenna Police Department, and Detective Mike Wadlington of the Aurora Police Department. These officers were all assigned at this time to the Portage County Drug Task Force. Also testifying on behalf of the State were confidential informants, Jennifer Jones and Amanda Sloey, and forensic scientists, Barbara DiPietro and Shervonne Bufford, of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.

{¶17} Jones and Sloey are both drug addicts. Jones testified to having two prior theft convictions and Sloey testified to approximately seventeen prior theft convictions.

{¶18} In March 2008, Agent Bauer arrested Jones for possession of heroin. Jones agreed to work undercover for Bauer in exchange for monetary compensation, rather than for consideration on her charge of possession. Agent Wadlington met Sloey in the summer of 2008, coming out of a drug house in Ravenna. Sloey agreed to work undercover for Wadlington in exchange for monetary compensation. Bauer testified that it is necessary to use confidential informants in drug investigations because some dealers will not sell to persons with whom they are not familiar.

{¶19} With respect to the March 26, 2008 controlled buy, Agent Bauer met Jones at Terrill Commons Apartments in Ravenna, Ohio. Bauer searched Jones to confirm that she was not then in possession of controlled substances. Bauer wired Jones with devices for audio transmission and for audio/visual recording. Bauer gave Jones $100 to purchase drugs from Bussle. Jones contacted Bussle by phone to arrange a buy.

{¶20} Bussle arrived at the apartments riding as a passenger in a Saturn driven by a woman. Jones exited the apartment and purchased crack cocaine and three Methadone tablets from Bussle. Agent Bauer recognized the passenger in the vehicle as Bussle. She observed a transaction between Jones and Bussle, but could not see what was exchanged. The recording device produced images of a man, identified as Bussle, sitting in the car and conducting an exchange with Jones.

{¶21} After the buy, Agent Bauer again searched Jones and recovered the drugs and $20. Bauer paid Jones $100 for performing the buy. Bufford testified that the drugs involved were crack cocaine and Methadone.

{¶22} With respect to the November 12, 2008 controlled buy, Agent Bauer met with Sloey and searched and wired her in the same manner as she had done to Jones. Bauer gave Sloey $160 to purchase drugs from Bussle and drove her to a location near 322 Orchard Street, in Ravenna, Ohio, where Bussle's mother lived and where Bussle sometimes stayed. Bauer was able to observe Bussle on the front porch of the residence and Sloey enter the residence. Sloey testified that she purchased three blue packets or "bindles," each containing a single unit dose, of heroin from Bussle for $60. Bussle kept the remaining $100 because Sloey owed him money. There was no visual record of the transaction as the video recording device was inadvertently disconnected.

{¶23} After the buy, Agent Bauer again searched Sloey and paid her $100 for performing the buy. DiPietro testified that the three packets contained heroin in an amount less than one gram.

{¶24} With respect to the November 13, 2008 controlled buy, Agent Wadlington met with Sloey and searched her for contraband and wired her. Wadlington gave Sloey $120 to purchase drugs from Bussle and drove her to the Circle K on North Chestnut Street in Ravenna, Ohio. Sloey contacted Bussle by phone and arranged to purchase drugs. A vehicle, in which Bussle was riding as a passenger in the back seat, pulled up to the Circle K and Sloey entered the vehicle. Sloey testified she purchased five packets of heroin from Bussle for $100. Sloey asked to be dropped off at her aunt's house on Chestnut Street.

{¶25} Agent Wadlington observed the vehicle with Bussle and Sloey exit northbound on Chestnut Street and pull into a residential driveway. Wadlington picked Sloey up walking southbound on Chestnut. He recovered the five packets of heroin and paid her less than $100 for performing the buy, since she had failed to previously disclose that she owed Bussle money. DiPietro testified that the five packets contained heroin in an amount less than one gram.

{¶26} With respect to the November 17, 2008 controlled buy, Agent Bauer met with Jones and arranged for her to purchase drugs from Bussle at the house on Orchard Street. Bauer searched, wired, and provided Jones with $60 with the understanding that she owed Bussle $20. Bauer dropped Jones off near the Orchard Street residence but did not observe Bussle outside. Sloey entered the residence and testified that she purchased two packets of heroin from Bussle for $40. The video recording of the transaction only showed the persons present to waist-height. The video showed the presence of two children in the residence, one of whom was in a playpen and can be heard babbling about "daddy." After the buy, Bauer recovered the two packets and paid Jones $100 for performing the buy. DiPietro testified that the two packets contained heroin in an amount less than one gram.

{¶27} On November 18, 2008, Agents of the Portage County Drug Task Force obtained an arrest warrant for Bussle and a search warrant for the Orchard Street residence. The search of the residence did not produce any contraband, but Agent Bauer learned that two children resided there, ages one and three.

{¶28} Agent Kaley located Bussle in front of the Majestic Cleanville on Cedar Avenue. Kaley testified it had been snowing heavily that day. Kaley attempted to effect an arrest but Bussle fled northbound. Kaley pursued on foot at "full sprint." As he pursued, Kaley noticed "small blue items" that were "flying off of him when he's running." Kaley apprehended Bussle at the corner of Chestnut Street and Highland Avenue. Lieutenant Carrozzi and Kaley immediately began to search for the blue items that had fallen off of Bussle and recovered twenty-two blue packets or bindles. These were damp on account of the snow. Eleven of the packets contained a substance which could be tested by Gas Chromatograph Mass/Spectrometer. DiPietro tested the substance and determined it to be heroin in the amount of .29 grams. Bufford tested the same and determined it to be heroin in the amount of .048 grams.

{¶29} At the close of trial, defense counsel moved the court, pursuant to Crim.R. 29, for acquittal on Counts Seven (Possessing Criminal Tools), Eight (Tampering with Evidence), and a specification to Count Five (Trafficking in Heroin) that the crime was committed in the vicinity of a juvenile. The trial court granted Bussle's motion to dismiss with respect to Count Seven (Possessing Criminal Tools) only.

{ΒΆ30} On June 5, 2009, the jury found Bussle guilty of Trafficking in Cocaine (Count One), Aggravated Trafficking in Drugs (Count Two), Trafficking in Heroin (Count Three), Trafficking in Heroin (Count Four), Trafficking in Heroin (Count Five) with an additional finding that the crime was committed in the vicinity of a ...


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