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State v. Delaney

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Summit

February 28, 2018

STATE OF OHIO Appellee
v.
ZAKIYA DELANEY Appellant

         APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CR-2016-03-0737-A

          ANGELA M. KILLE, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          SHERRI BEVAN WALSH, Prosecuting Attorney, and RICHARD S. KASAY, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          JENNIFER HENSAL JUDGE

         {¶1} Zakiya Delaney appeals her convictions from the Summit County Court of Common Pleas. We affirm.

         I.

         {¶2} While conducting surveillance on a house for possible drug activity, the police observed Ms. Delaney and her brother, Andrew, leave the house in a rental vehicle. The police performed a traffic stop on the vehicle and arrested both Ms. Delaney and Andrew. Officers transported the siblings back to the house, which was owned by their mother, and executed a search warrant. According to a detective, their mother was cooperative and directed the police to the southeast bedroom.

         {¶3} Upon searching the bedroom, the police discovered methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, digital scales, thousands of dollars in cash, and a loaded gun. The police found the loaded gun, as well as two digital scales, inside of a purse, and discovered heroin and marijuana - as well Ms. Delaney's credit card, insurance card, and social security card - inside the pocket of a pair of jeans. A detective testified that a large portion of the drugs were in plain sight on top of a dresser, and that the police discovered Ms. Delaney's driver's license in a cup on top of that same dresser. The detective testified that the scene was indicative of drug trafficking, as opposed to use, given the amount of drugs present, which he described as "a dealer's amount of dope[, ]" the number of small baggies containing pre-measured drugs, the large amount of cash present ($8, 322), and the presence of digital scales. The detective further testified that the police discovered no evidence indicating use, such as burnt spoons, needles, or straws.

         {¶4} Another detective testified that Ms. Delaney admitted that it was her bedroom, and that the jeans - as well as the marijuana inside the pocket - were hers. She, however, denied ownership of the heroin. That detective also testified that Andrew admitted that the drugs were his. Andrew later recanted, testifying that he only admitted that the drugs were his because he did not want his mother and sister to go to jail. Andrew further testified that he did not know whose drugs they were, or whose gun it was, and surmised that it could have belonged to one of Ms. Delaney's friends. Ms. Delaney exercised her right to not testify.

         {¶5} The jury ultimately found Ms. Delaney guilty of aggravated trafficking in drugs (methamphetamine), aggravated possession of drugs (methamphetamine), trafficking in heroin, and possession of heroin. The trial court merged the respective possession convictions with the trafficking convictions, and the State elected to proceed with sentencing on the trafficking convictions. The trial court imposed two-year sentences on each trafficking count and ordered the sentences to run concurrently. Ms. Delaney now appeals, raising four assignments of error for our review. For ease of consideration, we will address Ms. Delaney's second assignment of error first.

          II.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR II

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WHEN IT OVERRULED A TIMELY DEFENSE MOTION FOR ACQUITTAL PURSUANT TO CRIMINAL RULE 29 AS THERE WAS NOT SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE PRESENTED BY THE STATE OF OHIO TO ESTABLISH A PRIMA FACIE CASE OF THE CRIMES CHARGED TO WARRANT THE CASE BEING SUBMITTED TO THE JURY.

         {¶6} In her second assignment of error, Ms. Delaney asserts that her convictions were not supported by ...


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