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State v. Dumas

October 28, 1996

STATE OF WASHINGTON, RESPONDENT,
v.
JOHNNY LEE DUMAS, APPELLANT.



Appeal from Superior Court of King County. Docket No: 94-1-08338-1. Date filed: 05/30/95. Judge signing: Hon. Richard M. Ishikawa.

PER CURIUM. Johnny Dumas appeals his conviction for delivery of cocaine. He contends the trial court abused its discretion in admitting a photocopy of the "buy money" used by the police. Because the photocopy was admissible as a business record, and because the hearsay portion of the photocopy was not material to the verdict in any event, we affirm.

FACTS

Following a "buy-bust" operation, the State charged Dumas with delivery of cocaine.

At trial, Officer Miller testified that as part of the routine preparation for a buy-bust, the sergeant or acting sergeant photocopies the buy money and provides a copy to everyone in the operation. The sergeant gives the actual buy money to the buying officer who verifies that serial numbers on the buy money match the serial numbers on the photocopy.

Miller acted as the undercover buyer in the operation that resulted in Dumas' arrest on December 17, 1994. He testified that the buy money was photocopied before the operation and that he verified the serial numbers.

Miller and his partner stopped their unmarked car after exchanging nods with a man later identified as Eugene Washington. They asked Washington for "soup"--a street term for cocaine. Washington then crossed the street and contacted Dumas. An officer observing the transaction with binoculars testified that Dumas appeared to hand something to Washington.

Washington subsequently returned to Miller and gave him a substance that later tested positive for cocaine. In exchange, Miller gave Washington two twenty dollar bills from his buy money.

Washington then returned to Dumas. The officer observing with binoculars testified that Washington extended his hand to Dumas, and Dumas extended his hand as though he were receiving something. Both men were arrested shortly thereafter.

Officer Bowling testified that he searched Dumas and found two twenty dollar bills. He testified over a hearsay objection that he then compared the serial numbers on the bills to the serial numbers on his photocopy and found they matched. He made a photocopy of the money found on Dumas and placed that photocopy and his photocopy of the original "master buy money sheet" in an evidence envelope.

Bowling identified the envelope and its contents at trial and confirmed over another hearsay objection that the serial numbers on the two photocopies matched. The court then admitted the envelope and its contents over a foundation objection.

Dumas testified and denied any knowledge of, or participation in, the transaction. He admitted talking to Washington and shaking hands with him. He thought it was odd that Washington came up to him a short time later and wanted to shake his hand again. Dumas did not know where the money found on his person came from.

The jury convicted Dumas as charged. This appeal followed.

DECISION

Dumas contends the photocopy of the "buy money" contained hearsay. *fn1 Specifically, he argues that the photocopy asserted "that the [serial] numbers it contained . . . were the serial numbers of the twenty dollar bills Officer Miller gave to Washington and were subsequently found on Dumas." ...


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