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State v. Williams

May 19, 1997

STATE OF WASHINGTON, RESPONDENT,
v.
CLARISSA WILLIAMS, APPELLANT.



Appeal from Superior Court of King County. Docket No: 95-1-06419-8. Date filed: 02/26/96. Judge signing: Hon. Mary W. Brucker.

PER CURIAM. -- Clarissa Williams appeals her convictions for possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and delivery of cocaine. Williams challenges the sufficiency of the evidence for both convictions and contends that the prosecutor committed misconduct during closing argument. We reject her contentions and affirm.

FACTS

On September 17, 1995, several Seattle police officers participated in a buy-bust operation near South Washington Street and Alaskan Way. Officer Donnie Lowe, who was acting as the buy officer, testified that he contacted a man later identified as Mr. Ramirez. Ramirez had been flagging cars and pedestrians. Officer Lowe told Ramirez that he was looking, and Ramirez asked "how much?" Officer Lowe replied "two 20s." Ramirez then yelled in Spanish to a nearby male and female, later identified as codefendant Luis Sanchez and defendant Clarissa Williams. Officer Lowe and Ramirez walked over to them. Ramirez and Sanchez had a brief conversation in Spanish, then Sanchez and Williams had a similar conversation. Williams then reached into her bra and pulled out a clear plastic baggie with 15 to 20 pieces of rock cocaine and handed it to Sanchez. Officer Lowe and Sanchez walked away, and Sanchez asked to see the money. Officer Lowe showed the money. Sanchez reached into the baggie and pulled out two rocks, which he showed to Officer Lowe. After Officer Lowe and Sanchez exchanged the cocaine and money, Officer Lowe gave the good buy signal. Immediately thereafter, Ramirez, Sanchez and Williams were arrested by other officers. Officer Lowe testified that no buy money or cocaine was ever recovered from Williams or Sanchez.

Officer Michelle Hackett observed the transaction through binoculars. She testified that she observed the same sequence of events. She saw Officer Lowe hand Sanchez money in exchange for something which she was unable to see. After the arrests, she searched Williams. Officer Hackett found a baggie with approximately 15 grams of marijuana in Williams' bra and empty small plastic baggies in her front pants pocket.

Officer Robert Besaw, who was acting as a roving observer on foot, saw Williams reach into her bra, pull something out, and hand it to Sanchez. He then saw Sanchez and Officer Lowe walk away, return and make an exchange.

Officer Donald Hargrove arrested and searched Ramirez, finding seven small baggies of suspected marijuana, $45 in his left sock, and $1.66 in his wallet in his back pocket.

Officer Donald Johnson arrested and searched Sanchez. He did not find anything on Sanchez, but he found a beer near the stroller.

Judith Nickels, a forensic scientist, testified that the rocks Officer Lowe purchased contained .2 grams of cocaine and the green material Williams had contained 13.4 grams of marijuana. The baggies of green material found on Ramirez were never tested.

Luis Sanchez testified that he was in the area looking for a friend, Donna. He bought a beer and then met Williams, who he asked about Donna. Sanchez testified that no one ever approached him. He denied knowing about or selling drugs.

Clarissa Williams testified that she was in the area drinking with friends. When she heard someone say the police were coming, she discarded her beer and started to leave. She saw a friend, who she signaled that she would be back. As she started to walk away, she was arrested. Williams admitted she had a baggie of marijuana in the right side of her bra. She testified that she intended to smoke it and possibly share it with a friend. Williams testified that she uses the empty baggies found in her pocket for beadwork.

The jury found Williams guilty of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and as an accomplice to delivery of cocaine.

Discussion

Delivery of Cocaine

Williams contends that there is insufficient evidence to support her conviction as an accomplice to delivery of cocaine because Officer Lowe could not understand the conversation between Ramirez, Sanchez and Williams, the other officers could not see what Officer Lowe exchanged for money, the buy money was never recovered, ...


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