By Haroutun Bejanyan
Facing the sobering reality of his situation, a somber and disheartened Michael Eugene Littleton hung his head in dismay as his sentence was read out to him by Judge Paul Richardson on January 6, 2016.
Michael Eugene Littleton had been charged with and convicted of resisting an officer with force of violence, possession of cocaine, and possession as well as intent to sell methamphetamine. He was acquitted of an additional charge, battery on a police officer.
On a midsummer night back in July of 2015, West Sacramento Police Officer Raymond Barrantes pulled over a silver Mercedes SUV that had an expired license plate sticker. The defendant was asked to step out and a routine pat down was conducted to check for weapons.
When something unusual was felt in the pockets, Officer Barrantes proceeded to check further. Two baggies of marijuana were found in the pockets and were confiscated.
This urged both Officers Barrantes and Miller to inspect the inside of the vehicle, where a box of Ziploc baggies were found as well as a digital scale.
Officer Barrantes then decided to check the defendant’s tattoos for any gang affiliations. However, when the defendant was asked to lift up his shirt, he did it very rapidly as if he were trying to hide something.
At that moment, Barrantes noticed a black pouch protruding from the defendant’s waistband. The defendant realized Barrantes had noticed, and he took off running.
Barrantes gave pursuit, lunging onto the defendant’s back and taking him down to the ground.
Due to the sheer size of the defendant, over 6 feet and weighing 260 pounds, Barrantes was unable to subdue him. As the defendant pushed off the ground and lifted himself to his feet, Officer Barrantes was bucked off of the defendant’s back and thrown onto his shoulder, dislocating it.
Officer Miller then chased the defendant into a wooded area, where the defendant tripped into an embankment and Miller was able to apprehend him, striking him in the right arm with a baton. In the amount of time between the defendant tripping and Miller apprehending him, the defendant had apparently reached into his waistband and discarded the pouch into the nearby brush and foliage.
During a search of the area following the incident, Officer Daniel Gill used a police canine to recover a black pouch with methamphetamine from a bush near where the suspect was supposedly apprehended.
Several factors had been presented as evidence of alleged intent to sell methamphetamine: 72 grams of meth, a digital scale with white crystals, lack of drug paraphernalia indicating personal use, Ziploc baggies, and text messages.
Text messages on the defendant’s phone were sent and received within two hours of the incident on July 8, 2015. The defendant had received text messages asking for drugs and he responded with his location. The defendant had texted, “Hello u need drugs” and the response was, “I need two 8 balls.”
In the end, Michael Eugene Littleton was sentenced to an aggregate total of 17 years to be served at a state prison with eligibility for parole. Littleton received a greater sentence than he otherwise would have, due to several prior drug convictions, dating back to the early 2000’s, stacked against him. When Littleton was read his right to an appeal, he promptly answered without hesitation, “I want to make an appeal today.”