Submitted: June 18, 2019
J. MacDonald, attorney general (Sean R. Locke, assistant
attorney general, on the brief), for the State.
M. Rothstein, deputy director public defender, of Concord, on
the brief, for the defendant.
defendant, James Castine, appeals his convictions and
sentences following a jury trial in the Superior Court
(Delker, J.) on three counts of sale of a controlled
drug. See RSA 318-B:2, I (2017). On appeal, the
defendant challenges: (1) the sufficiency of the evidence to
support his convictions; and (2) the trial court's
consideration at sentencing of evidence that he was the
leader of a drug enterprise. We affirm.
jury could have found the following facts based upon the
evidence at trial and all reasonable inferences drawn
therefrom. In early 2017, a sheriff's deputy with the
Rockingham County Drug Task Force entered into a cooperation
agreement with an individual who had been arrested for
possessing heroin. This confidential informant (CI) told the
deputy that he could purchase heroin from the defendant. The
CI agreed to conduct three controlled drug buys from the
three drug buys, which occurred on separate days, were
executed in the same fashion. First, the CI arrived at the
Epping police station and met with the deputy and other law
enforcement officers. At their direction, the CI, using his
cellphone, called the defendant and requested the purchase of
a set quantity of drugs from him at the defendant's
residence, which was a garage. Following the cellphone call,
the deputy searched the CI and his vehicle. After confirming
that neither money nor drugs were on the CI or in his car,
the deputy gave the CI the money he needed to purchase the
drugs. The CI then drove from the police station
to the defendant's residence, followed by the deputy in
another car. Once at the defendant's residence, the CI
exited his car and entered the garage through a side door.
The deputy, who was located nearby, witnessed the CI exit his
car and enter the garage. Two other law enforcement officers
watched from across the street.
entering the garage, the CI asked the defendant for the drugs
he had requested. The defendant weighed and packaged the
drugs, and handed them to the CI, who gave the defendant the
money that had been supplied to him by law enforcement. Two
other individuals, a male and a female, were present when the
first two sales took place. During the third sale, only the
female was present.
the exchange, the CI entered his car and called the deputy to
tell him that he had the drugs. Next, the CI drove to the
Epping police station, followed by the deputy. Once at the
police station, the deputy collected the drugs from the CI
and searched both the CI and his car. After the deputy
confirmed that there were no additional drugs or money on the
CI or in his car, the CI related to the deputy what had
happened inside the garage. The drugs purchased from the
defendant were tested, and all three samples were determined
to contain a mixture of fentanyl and cocaine. Both the CI and
the deputy testified that they were unable to differentiate
between heroin and fentanyl.
hearing testimony from the CI, the deputy, and the
criminalist who tested the drugs, the jury found the
defendant guilty on all three counts. At sentencing, the
trial court imposed two consecutive stand-committed sentences
of seven-and-a-half to 15 years on the first two drug
convictions, and a consecutive suspended sentence of
seven-and-a-half to 15 years on the third drug conviction.
This appeal followed.
first address the defendant's argument that the State
presented insufficient evidence to prove his guilt beyond a
reasonable doubt. Our standard of review of sufficiency
claims is well established. "When considering a
challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, we objectively
review the record to determine whether any rational
trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the
crime beyond a reasonable doubt, considering all the evidence
and all reasonable inferences therefrom in the light most
favorable to the State." State v. Roy, 167 N.H.
276, 292 (2015) (quotation omitted). It is the defendant who
bears the burden of demonstrating that the evidence was
insufficient to prove guilt. Id. Where, as here, the
State presents both direct and circumstantial evidence of
guilt, "a sufficiency challenge must fail if the
evidence, including the jury's credibility
determinations, is such that a rational trier of fact could
find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, even if the evidence
would support a rational conclusion other than guilt if the
jury had resolved credibility issues differently."
State v. Saunders, 164 N.H. 342, 351 (2012).
"The evaluation of witness credibility and the weight
given to witnesses' testimony [are] issues for the jury
to resolve." State v. Oakes, 161 N.H. 270, 276
(2010) (quotation omitted).
the evidence and all reasonable inferences drawn therefrom in
the light most favorable to the State, we hold that the
evidence was sufficient for a rational trier of fact to have
found, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant was
guilty of selling a controlled drug on three occasions.
See Roy, 167 N.H. at 292. Here, the jury heard
evidence that, on three occasions, the CI requested heroin
from the defendant and that law enforcement provided the CI
with the money to purchase the heroin. The jury also heard
the CI's testimony that, on three occasions, he met with
the defendant to complete the drug purchases and, on those
occasions, the defendant gave the CI drugs in exchange for
the money supplied to the CI by law enforcement. Finally, the
criminalist testified that the drugs purchased from the
defendant tested positive for fentanyl and cocaine. Based
upon this evidence and all reasonable ...