Henson appeals his conviction for violation of the Uniform
Controlled Substances Act (UCSA), ch. 69.50 RCW. He argues
that the court erred by admitting improper opinion testimony
and that his counsel was ineffective. He also argues that the
court should strike his deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)
collection fee. We affirm Henson's conviction and remand
to the trial court to strike the DNA collection fee.
November 9, 2016, several police officers were conducting an
operation to buy illegal drugs in Seattle. When police are
conducting operations to target an area with a high level of
drug dealing, officers will buy drugs from a number of
people, identify the sellers, and then later arrest the
November 9, 2016, a man sold methamphetamine to Detective
Matthew Volpe, an undercover police officer, at a
McDonald's. The man told Detective Volpe that his name
tasked a uniformed deputy, Austin Peterson, to attempt to
identify the man. RP 68-69. Peterson successfully obtained
the man's identification and reported to Volpe that the
man's name was Raphael Henson. Peterson provided
Henson's middle initial and birthdate from his
identification. Volpe then looked up a Facebook photo for
Henson and verified that it was the same person that he had
purchased methamphetamine from in the McDonald's.
was charged with one count of violation of the UCSA for
allegedly delivering methamphetamine on November 9, 2016.
Henson denied selling methamphetamine to Volpe. He said that
he often lost his identification cards. Henson denied going
by the nickname "Raggooey."
counsel moved in limine to suppress all opinion testimony.
The defense requests that the police officer witnesses be
strictly limited to descriptions of what they personally
observed and not extend any opinion unless their expert
qualification to make such an opinion is established.
Specifically, the defense requests that police officers not
be permitted to testify that they saw gestures or behavior
that was consistent with a drug transaction, but that
officers limit their testimony to the facts of what they did
or did not observe.
court granted this motion, to the extent that the officers
could testify that based on their training and experience,
certain behaviors were consistent with meth use. However, the
officers could not testify that certain behaviors were
consistent with a drug deal.
counsel also moved to exclude one officer, Detective Jeff
Hancock, from testifying that he identified Henson from
photographs. Defense counsel argued that it was opinion
testimony for Hancock to testify he looked at Henson at the
scene and then looked at identification photos and then
confirmed that he is the same person. The State argued that
Detective Hancock should be permitted to testify that in his
opinion, Henson was the person involved in the drug sale
based on his booking photo because issues involving identity
or testimony in regards to identity are very probative. The
trial court reserved ruling on the issue, noting that it
hoped to have a decision by opening statements. The parties
never revisited the issue and testimony commenced without any
ruling or further objections.
trial, Detective Volpe testified that Deputy Peterson was
able to identify Henson. The defense objected to this
testimony, which was overruled. Detective Volpe testified
that he had looked up Henson's Facebook page after the
drug buy and recognized Henson as the man who sold him the
drugs. Someone referred to Henson as "Raggooey" on
the Facebook page. After Henson objected to hearsay
testimony, the court gave a limiting instruction.
Robell Ghrmai was positioned inside the restaurant and he
identified Henson in court as the person he observed speaking
with Detective Volpe. Detective Gerald Meyer observed the
interaction from a nearby vehicle and he identified Henson in
court. Detective Chris Adams took several photos of Henson
outside the McDonald's and he identified Henson in court.
State called Detective Hancock as the State's final
witness. Detective Hancock testified about his identification
of Henson. Detective Hancock observed the interaction between
Detective Volpe and Henson from a parking lot using
binoculars. Detective Hancock then looked up Henson's