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Washington v. Sanchez

as corrected. second corrected.: March 18, 1991.

THE STATE OF WASHINGTON, RESPONDENT,
v.
HERARDO MORA SANCHEZ, APPELLANT. THE STATE OF WASHINGTON, RESPONDENT, V. JOSE ANGEL SARINANA, APPELLANT



Baker, J. Webster, A.c.j., and Coleman, J., concur.

Author: Baker

Jose Angel Sarinana and Herardo Mora Sanchez were convicted in a bench trial of violating the Uniform Controlled Substances Act by delivering cocaine. The trial court also found that both defendants were armed with a deadly weapon at the time of the offense. Sanchez

appeals his conviction claiming the trial court erred by refusing to require disclosure of an informant's identity. Sarinana raises the identical issue and also contends the trial court erred by finding that there was sufficient evidence to convict. The State cross-appeals, contending the trial court failed to consider information pertaining to an alleged prior felony conviction when imposing the sentence on Sanchez.

I

Facts

Seattle Police Detective Mario Navarrete testified at trial that he received the following information: that a person named Manuel had been trafficking in cocaine in Seattle; that Manuel had recently been arrested in Yakima; that the telephone pager through which he conducted his business was still active locally.*fn1 Navarrete testified that after receipt of this information, he called the pager number and eventually arranged to purchase a quantity of cocaine.

Sanchez and Sarinana arrived by car at the appointed time and location, a little-used corner of a grocery store parking lot. Sarinana exited the front passenger side of the car and got in the backseat. Navarrete approached the vehicle, introduced himself to Sanchez, and took Sarinana's place in the front seat. Once Navarrete was in possession of the cocaine he signaled the arrest team to approach. As the arrest team was arriving, Sanchez spotted them in the rear view mirror. Noticing this, Navarrete asked, "'Are those friends of yours?'" He then saw Sarinana put his hand in his pocket, and he saw the outline of a handgun inside the pocket. Navarrete pinned Sarinana's hand and the gun in Sarinana's pocket. At the same time he drew his own weapon on Sanchez and identified himself and the others as police officers.

In the course of arresting Sarinana and Sanchez, the officers recovered an additional 27.2 grams of cocaine and

$2,470 in cash from Sanchez's person. The firearm taken from Sarinana was in working condition and loaded with four rounds of ammunition.

II

Disclosure of Informant's Identity

Prior to trial Sarinana and Sanchez had moved to compel the State to disclose the identity of the informant in the case, or for the court to hold an in camera hearing. The motion was denied.

The issue of the informant's identity arose again during trial. On cross examination Navarrete acknowledged that he had testified about communications he and his partner received from an anonymous citizen. Sarinana then inquired as to whether the officers were able to obtain the name of the informant. The State objected. Citing State v. McCoy, 10 Wash. App. 807, 521 P.2d 49 (1974), Sarinana and Sanchez argued that because Navarrete had testified to the substance of the communications with the informant, the State had waived its privilege of nondisclosure of the informant's identity. The trial court ordered disclosure. The defense then inquired of Navarrete whether he had the means available to obtain the name of the informant, to which Navarrete responded that he did not. The trial court ordered the State to take all reasonable and necessary means to obtain the name of the informant.

When trial resumed the following Monday, the State moved for reconsideration. The trial court reconsidered its prior ruling and held that although the privilege had been waived, the informant's statements did not tend to prove the guilt of either defendant. Therefore, the court held the informant's ...


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