Jury returns conviction
after three-day drug trial
from staff reports
Sept. 27, 2003
A three-day trial in Lauderdale County Circuit Court ended in conviction Friday for 39-year-old Kirby Glenn Tate.
Tate was arrested on March 10 of this year, following an undercover operation conducted by the East Mississippi Drug Task Force when he allegedly sold marijuana to a confidential informant working with the task force.
He was indicted in July on two counts: 1) delivery of 435.3 grams of marijuana; and 2) possession of 531 grams of marijuana with intent to sell or distribute.
The jury deliberated for about two hours before finding Tate guilty on both counts.
Defense lawyers claimed Tate had been "entrapped" by task force agents. To succeed, an entrapment defense must show that the defendant had no intention to commit a crime until he was induced or persuaded to do so by law enforcement officers.
The defense claimed the confidential informant planted the marijuana at Tate's house, and that Tate was trying to return it when he was arrested.
They also told jurors they should not believe the testimony of the confidential informant because he used illegal drugs himself and was no "knight in shining armor."
Closing arguments for the state were presented by District Attorney Bilbo Mitchell and Assistant District Attorney Vel Young.
Young pointed to previous run-ins Tate has had with the law over drugs. In 2001, Tate was busted with 277 grams of marijuana, but the charge was later dismissed.
Task force agents were very careful to "dot the i's and cross the t's" in this this case, Young said, because the earlier indictment had been thrown out of court.
She also told jurors that Tate was arrested with almost 300 grams of marijuana in June 2003 while out on bond awaiting trial.
Young said what Tate intended to do with the marijuana was clear from a tape made on the night of the undercover operation.
Lawyers are scheduled to meet with Circuit Judge Larry Roberts on Monday to set a date for a sentencing hearing.