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Washington v. Jackson

filed: July 12, 1996.


Superior Court of Cowlitz County. Superior Court Docket No. 94-1-0000-5. Date Filed In Superior Court: March 24, 1994. Superior Court Judge Signing: Randolph Furman.

Written By: Morgan, J., Concurred IN By: Seinfeld, C.j., Houghton, A.c.j.

Author: Morgan

MORGAN, J. -- James Levene Jackson, Jr., appeals his conviction for possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver. Helen Virginia Jackson, his wife, appeals her conviction for possession of methamphetamine. We affirm both convictions.

In December 1993, Andrew Hamilton was employed as a police officer for the City of Kelso. On December 10,*fn1 according to his later affidavit for a search warrant, he

was contacted by Chief Tony Stoutt (Kelso Police Department) who advised that he had been contacted earlier in the day by an individual who has given him large amounts of information in the past. Chief Stoutt also advised that this informant has given information in the past which has led to the arrest of individuals for felony offenses. Chief Stoutt advised that the individual was always very cautious about giving information. Normally, he would only give it by phone and directly to Chief Stoutt, and would not deal with anyone else. Chief Stoutt advised that the information he was given was that a James Jackson, who is a manager of the trailer court at 151 Cowlitz Gardens and resides in Space #11, is receiving crank through Federal Express on either Saturdays or Mondays; and that, every Thursday, he express-mails a package from the Longview Post Office to an individual named Dan in California. Chief Stoutt was advised that James is selling teeners for $125 each, and that he was selling to a large number of people in the park, and that he goes through an ounce or two of crank per week.

Chief Stoutt advised that, from the information he was given, James is 42 years old, an ex-biker, 6'4", 220 pounds, with tattoos all over his body. He is an ex-Weyerhaueser employee who was fired after he failed a urinalysis. Chief Stoutt was advised that the suspect always wears bib overalls and was not very hard to recognize, due to the tattoos. His wife . . . is named Helen . . . .*fn2

Stoutt did not give Hamilton the informant's name.

After receiving this information, Hamilton verified that Jackson lived at the stated address. He also made several attempts to contact Federal Express' security division, which was "back east somewhere," but "had no luck."*fn3

On the morning of December 30, according to Hamilton's later affidavit, he stopped a Federal Express truck on its route and asked the driver if she had ever made any deliveries to the Cowlitz Gardens area. She advised that she was not the Kelso driver, and that she would have the Kelso driver contact him. Approximately an hour later, he received a call from a Federal Express employee advising that there was a parcel on the Kelso truck that matched the description Hamilton had given.*fn4 The employee said the package was addressed to James Jackson at 151 Cowlitz Gardens, Space 11. Hamilton said he planned "to do a warrant and would want the package," and the employee said "he would get back to [Hamilton] later that day."*fn5 The employee also gave Hamilton a direct phone number for Federal Express' security division.

Hamilton called the security division again, and this time reached a man who worked there. According to Hamilton's later affidavit, he said he "would be obtaining a search warrant for the parcel," and Federal Express said "the package would be delivered to the Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office."*fn6

About 10 a.m. the same day, Federal Express delivered the package to a clerk at the front counter of the sheriff's office. Hamilton was not present at the time, but he was notified and arrived about 11:30 a.m. He arranged for a trained drug detection dog to be brought in, and about 11:45 a.m. the dog alerted on the package.*fn7 Hamilton also observed that the package bore a return address of 282 Kansas, San Francisco, CA 94107. He contacted a postal inspector, and that person quickly ascertained that the return address was fictitious. He then obtained a search warrant, and the package was opened. The time, according to Hamilton, was about 2 p.m. The package contained 16.7 grams of methamphetamine.

After the package had been opened and its contents inspected, it was resealed and sprayed with a substance discernable under ultraviolet light. Then, a police officer posing as a Federal Express employee delivered it to the Jacksons' address.

A few minutes later, officers served a search warrant on the Jacksons' residence. They found James Jackson inside, and they stopped Helen Jackson as she was leaving. According to evidence later adduced on pre-trial motions or at trial, they found the methamphetamine in a drain pipe for the toilet, and the Federal Express package outside the bathroom. They found "a black fanny pack containing a syringe and Helen Jackson's wallet with identification, a black shaving kit with 4 syringes, and $780.00 in cash."*fn8 They found a receipt for a $300 money order, with Helen Jackson as payor and one Danny Orlando as payee, and an envelope from Helen Jackson to Danny Orlando at a San Francisco address. While in the house, the officers "answered several telephone calls from callers seeking to purchase drugs, and who wanted to speak directly with Helen or James Jackson."*fn9 The substance discernable under ultraviolet light was on James Jackson's hands, and Helen Jackson admitted injecting methamphetamine earlier that day.

On January 6, 1994, the State charged both Jacksons with one count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver. Each defendant filed a motion to suppress, and a pre-trial hearing was held at which Hamilton was the only witness. According to Hamilton's testimony, he had never directed or requested Federal Express to deliver the package to the sheriff's office; rather, he had intended to secure a search warrant that he would execute at the offices of Federal Express.*fn10 According to inferences argued by the prosecutor, Federal Express had delivered the package to the front counter of the sheriff's office because they had "wanted to get rid of it," and not "be an unwitting participant in the trafficking of narcotics."*fn11

Accepting the State's view of the facts, the trial court found in part:

That on December 30, 1993, Federal Express responding to Detective Hamilton's interest in the package, delivered the package to the Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office, who in turn delivered it to the task force office. Detective Hamilton did not direct or request that the package be delivered to the Sheriff's office, but expressed an interest in the package. Detective Hamilton informed Federal Express that he would seek ...

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