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Washington v. McReynolds

filed: March 19, 1996.


Appeal from SUPERIOR COURT YAKIMA COUNTY. Superior Court No: 92-1-01699-6. Date filed in Superior Court: 6/11/93. Superior Court Judge signing: ROBERT HACKETT.

John A. Schultheis, Dennis J. Sweeney & Ray E. Munson, concur

Author: Schultheis

SCHULTHEIS, J. -- Randy McReynolds was charged with four counts of delivery of cocaine. A jury acquitted him of two counts, could not reach a decision on one count and convicted him of one count. He appeals, contending the court should have instructed the jury that if it found he believed he was working for the police as a confidential informant, his actions were lawful based upon RCW 69.50.506(c), which states: "No liability is imposed by this chapter upon any authorized state, county or municipal officer, engaged in the lawful performance of his duties." We affirm.

In May 1992 Mr. McReynolds walked into the Zillah police station and volunteered his services to the LEAD Task Force.*fn1 He told Detectives Ron Shepard and Mike Everts he wanted to help rid the Buena and Toppenish areas of drug activity by working for them as a confidential informant. They questioned him regarding the whereabouts of several fugitives wanted in connection with illegal drug transactions and arranged to meet with him again a week or two later. In the interim, Mr. McReynolds called the detectives with information about two of the fugitives.

At Mr. McReynolds' second meeting with Detectives Shepard and Everts, on May 26, they recruited him as an informant and had him read and sign two documents: (1) a consent to have his conversations recorded and (2) an admonishment advising him he is not a police officer, is not to violate any law to gather information, and shall not possess, sell or deliver drugs except as specifically directed by a LEAD Task Force detective. The detectives directed

Mr. McReynolds to look for drug sources and gather information, but warned him not to use or sell drugs, or become involved in any drug deals. Mr. McReynolds told them he knew a cocaine dealer named Sandy Clark, and he would try to recruit her as an informant or discover her drug sources.

During approximately the same period, Stan Rolison also approached the task force. He explained he had a drug problem and had unsuccessfully tried everything to beat his addiction; he now wanted to burn his drug connection bridges and help get the drug dealers off the streets. The task force signed him on as a confidential informant, and Detectives Shepard and Everts worked with him. Mr. Rolison identified Mr. McReynolds (known to him only as Randy) as a possible drug dealer in Buena.

Detectives Shepard and Everts decided not to have Mr. McReynolds make any buys for them; instead, they set up a sting operation targeting Mr. McReynolds. On June 2 and 3, 1992 Mr. Rolison contacted Mr. McReynolds under the direction and supervision of the task force, and took delivery of cocaine four times. Mr. McReynolds was charged with four counts of delivering cocaine. At trial, the deliveries were described as follows:

DELIVERY NO. 1, JUNE 2 (COUNT IV). Mr. Rolison took $20 buy money, drove to Harper Lane to find Mr. McReynolds, and when he found him, asked to buy cocaine. Mr. McReynolds got into the car with Mr. Rolison and they drove to a trailer park on Burr Street. Mr. Rolison saw a man he knew as Ramon or Raymond and asked Mr. McReynolds if he could get him a 20 ($20 worth of cocaine, one-fourth gram). Mr. Rolison testified Mr. McReynolds walked up to a trailer, knocked, entered when a man opened the door, brought back cocaine which he handed to Mr. Rolison, asked for the money, took the money to a spot between the trailer and a parked car, and threw the money on the ground for the man in the trailer to retrieve after they left. Mr. McReynolds denied handling the money or the cocaine; he testified Mr. Rolison dealt

directly with Ramon. On this count, the jury found Mr. McReynolds not guilty.

DELIVERY NO. 2, JUNE 3 (COUNT I). While looking for Mr. McReynolds, Mr. Rolison ran into a woman named Carol at Buena Bill's tavern; he asked if she could get him a 20. She indicated she or her son David could. The three of them went to a labor camp near the Golden Nugget Market, and David went to one of the trailers. Mr. Rolison testified David was unsuccessful, so he dropped them off at the tavern and drove to Mr. McReynolds' house. He testified he asked Mr. McReynolds for a $20 bag and Mr. McReynolds gave him a bag of cocaine from the bookshelf. Mr. Rolison thought that he handed the money to Mr. McReynolds, but said he might have placed it on the bookshelf. Mr. McReynolds denied any drug transaction took place in his house. He testified Mr. Rolison asked where Ms. Clark was, and he replied she was at ...

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