Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common
Pleas Case No. CR-18-625495-A
Michael C. O'Malley, Cuyahoga County Prosecuting
Attorney, and Caitlin E. Monter, Assistant Prosecuting
Attorney, for appellee.
Stephen L. Miles, for appellant.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
PATRICIA ANN BLACKMON, PRESIDING JUDGE.
1} Deontye Wiley ("Wiley") appeals from his
convictions for drug trafficking, drug possession, and having
weapons while under disability, as well as his four-year
prison sentence. Wiley assigns the following errors for our
I. The trial court violated his double jeopardy rights by
enhancing the weapons while under disability offense with a
II. The evidence was insufficient to support the convictions
for drug trafficking, drug possession, and having weapon[s]
while under disability.
2} Having reviewed the record and pertinent law, we affirm
the trial court's judgment. The apposite facts follow.
3} Following complaints of drug activity and gun shots at
3213 Tate Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio, police began an
investigation. Surveillance revealed numerous people entering
and leaving the house, consistent with drug activity. After
conducting a controlled drug buy at that address, police
obtained a warrant to search the premises, which was executed
in the early morning hours of January 26, 2018. Wiley was
found alone upstairs in the home. Both police and Ohio Adult
Parole Authority databases indicated that Wiley resided at
that address. No lights were on in the house, although a
television was on in one of the upstairs bedrooms.
4} Officers collected evidence forming the basis of
Wiley's convictions from one of two adjoining rooms
upstairs in the house: the previously mentioned bedroom with
the television and the room adjacent to it, which is
connected by a doorway. A detective described them as being
set up as a "little efficiency." The first room
contained a table, a microwave, and running water. The second
room contained a bed, a dresser, a television, and a
bookshelf. Although both rooms had doors that lead to the
hallway, the bedroom door was blocked by the bookshelf,
rendering the bedroom accessible only by way of the first
5} The search of the first room revealed several items
described as being used in the manufacturing of crack
cocaine: a beaker, a plastic lid, and some spoons, all of
which tested positive for cocaine residue. Officers found
plastic sandwich bags that they explained are used as drug
packaging. Police also found a crack pipe in a plastic
6} In the bedroom, police discovered a bag of marijuana,
multiple scales that tested positive for cocaine and
marijuana residue, five cell phones, and several rounds of 9
mm ammunition, including one spent bullet casing. On the
dresser, police discovered three documents all bearing
Wiley's name: a traffic citation, a booking sheet, and a
document related to a municipal court case. Between the
dresser and the bed, police found a locked safe. After
opening the safe, officers discovered an operable, loaded 9
mm pistol, as well as crack cocaine and several packs of
Newport cigarettes. One of the investigating detectives
testified as to his conclusion that Wiley stayed in this
bedroom and that he found no indication that anybody else
stayed in it.
7} While police were conducting the search, Wiley admitted to
them that he "messed around" with marijuana and
cocaine. Although police found no drugs on his person, Wiley
had $471 in his pocket, which, a detective explained, was an
amount of money indicative of drug sales. Wiley further
admitted that the marijuana that officers found in the
bedroom was his: "I'm going to be real with you,
that's my bud. I was smoking it." He also told the
officers that he "mess[es] around with cocaine."
Moreover, Wiley admitted that he smoked Newport cigarettes,
the same brand found in the safe.
of the Evidence
8} Wiley argues that there was insufficient evidence for
conviction. He claims that there was no evidence that linked
him to the drugs or the firearm found in the safe and that
there was no evidence that established that he sold drugs or
prepared drugs for sale. We disagree.
9} A challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence supporting
a conviction requires this court to determine whether the
state met its burden of production. State v. Hunter,
8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 86048, 2006-Ohio-20, ¶ 41, citing
State v. Thompkins, 78 Ohio St.3d 380, 390, 678
N.E.2d 541 (1997). When reviewing for sufficiency of the
evidence, this court must determine "'whether, after
viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to the
prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the
essential elements of the crime proven beyond a reasonable
doubt.'" State v. Leonard, 104 Ohio St.3d
54, 2004-Ohio-6235, 818 N.E.2d 229, ¶ 77, quoting
State v. Jenks, 61 Ohio St.3d 259, 574 N.E.2d 492
(1991), paragraph two of the syllabus. In a sufficiency
inquiry, this court does not assess whether the state's
evidence is to be believed but instead whether, if believed,
the evidence admitted at trial supported the conviction.
State v. Starks, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 91682,
2009-Ohio-3375, ¶ 25, citing Thompkins at 387;
Jenks at paragraph two of the syllabus.
10} R.C. 2925.03(A) proscribes drug trafficking and in
relevant part provides:
No person shall knowingly * * * [p]repare for shipment, ship,
transport, deliver, prepare for distribution, or distribute a
controlled substance * * * when the offender knows or has
reasonable cause to believe that the controlled substance * *
* is ...