Sunday, December 22, 2013

United States v. Beasley case brief

United States v. Beasley case brief summary
809 F.2d 1273 (7th Cir. 1987)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Appellant sought review of his convictions in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division, on seven counts of obtaining Dilaudid with intent to distribute, in violation of 21 U.S.C.S. § 841(a)(1), and two counts of attempting to obtain Dilaudid by misrepresenting the name of the person to appear on the prescription, in violation of 21 U.S.C.S. §§ 843(a)(3) and 846.

CASE FACTS
Appellant, having a Ph.D. in chemistry, was convicted of obtaining Dilaudid with intent to distribute and of attempting to obtain Dilaudid by misrepresenting name of the person appearing on the prescription. Appellant mounted a frivolous attack on the convictions of misrepresentation, as proof that those whose names were on the prescriptions had not authorized it was not necessary.

DISCUSSION

  • The appellate court held that the district court abused its discretion and committed reversible error in not taking into account power of prior drug bad acts to harm defendant's character under Fed. R. Evid. 403. 
  • Pretrial hearing on the admissibility of this evidence was perfunctory and appellee United States was not asked to explain what it expected to show. 
  • In addition, the admission of evidence as "pattern" would be incorrect unless it was shown to be one of the listed exceptions in Fed. R. Evid. 404, temporal proximity did not support use, and evidence of intent required balancing of possible jury prejudice with probative value. 
  • Although error harmless respecting convictions of misrepresenting, sentences vacated on all counts in order to permit resentencing if and when new convictions were obtained.

CONCLUSION
Appellant's request for reversal of conviction for attempting to obtain Dilaudid by misrepresenting name appearing on the prescription was denied as proof that those whose names were on the prescriptions had not authorized them was unnecessary. The convictions for actually obtaining Dilaudid with intent to distribute were reversed because district court erred in not taking into account power of prior drug bad acts to harm defendant's character.

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