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Moore v. State

Supreme Court of Wyoming

November 26, 2013

Shelley MOORE, Appellant (Defendant),
v.
The STATE of Wyoming, Appellee (Plaintiff).

Page 506

Representing Appellant: Office of the State Public Defender: Diane Lozano, State Public Defender; Tina N. Olson, Chief Appellate Counsel; Kirk A. Morgan, Senior Assistant Appellate Counsel. Argument by Mr. Morgan.

Representing Appellee: Gregory A. Phillips, Wyoming Attorney General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; Theodore R. Racines, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Christyne Martens, Assistant Attorney General. Argument by Ms. Martens.

Before KITE, C.J., and HILL, VOIGT, BURKE, and DAVIS, JJ.

KITE, Chief Justice.

[¶ 1] Shelley Moore was convicted after a jury trial of felony possession of cocaine and misdemeanor possession of marijuana. At trial, he sought to introduce Chauncey Swain's out-of-court statements that the cocaine belonged to him. The district court excluded the statements because they were hearsay and did not meet the requirements for the " statement against interest" exception to the hearsay rule. On appeal, Mr. Moore claims the district court erred by

Page 507

refusing to allow Mr. Swain's statements to be introduced into evidence.

[¶ 2] We affirm.

ISSUE

[¶ 3] Mr. Moore presents the following issue on appeal:

Whether the district court abused its discretion when it ruled that Mr. Moore could not present evidence that the other occupant in the vehicle had asserted that the cocaine in the vehicle was his, under W.R.E. 804(b)(3).[1]

FACTS

[¶ 4] On May 25, 2011, Natrona County Sheriff's Deputy Asa Moren stopped a vehicle driven by Mr. Moore because it had crossed the fog line several times. Deputy Moren smelled marijuana when he approached the vehicle. Deputy Sean Ellis, who had responded to Deputy Moren's request for backup, approached the vehicle from the passenger side and observed Mr. Moore reaching for his documentation in the glove box with his left hand, but he could not see Mr. Moore's right hand. As Deputy Ellis spoke with Mr. Swain, the passenger in the vehicle, he saw a " Crown Royal" bag in Mr. Moore's right hand, which he appeared to be trying to conceal between the center console and the driver's seat.

[¶ 5] Deputy Ellis then went around to the driver's side and removed Mr. Moore from the vehicle. As Mr. Moore got out, a partially burned marijuana blunt cigar fell from his lap. Deputy Ellis also removed Mr. Swain from the vehicle and noticed the Crown Royal bag on the passenger side floorboard. The officers found crack cocaine inside the bag.

[¶ 6] Mr. Moore was charged with felony possession of cocaine and misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Prior to his trial, Mr. Moore's counsel obtained a signed statement from Mr. Swain, declaring the Crown Royal bag and cocaine belonged to him. Mr. Swain also repeated his admission in a recorded telephone conversation with a defense investigator. ...


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