Thursday, December 5, 2013

United States v. Check case brief

United States v. Check case brief summary
582 F.2d 668 (1978)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendant appealed from the judgment of conviction entered in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York for possession of her*in with intent to distribute the drug, including the allegation of actual distribution of the drug, in violation of 21 U.S.C.S. § 841(a)(1), and conspiracy to distribute narcotic drug, controlled substances, in violation of21 U.S.C.S. § 846.

CASE FACTS
Defendant, a police officer, was convicted of possession of her*in with intent to distribute the drug, including the allegation of actual distribution of the drug, and conspiracy to distribute narcotic-drug, controlled substances. Evidence introduced against defendant included the testimony of the undercover police officer, who recounted his prior conversations with an intermediary.

DISCUSSION

  • The court held that the witness' testimony, narrating both his and the intermediary's statements, was hearsay not admissible under any exceptions set forth in Fed. R. Evid. 801, and that defendant was substantially prejudiced by the testimony. 
  • The court further found that defendant did not waive his right to raise the matter on appeal, because his attorney frequently and with increasing precision, objected to the introduction of the testimony. 
  • In view of the district court's plain error affecting substantial rights of the defendant, the judgment was reversed. 
  • The court offered that the death threat testimony introduced by the prosecutor also might have been erroneously admitted. 
  • The court reversed the judgment and remanded the case for a new trial.

CONCLUSION
The court reversed the judgment convicting defendant of possession of her*in with intent to distribute the drug and conspiracy to distribute narcotic drug, controlled substances. The district court committed plain error affecting substantial rights of defendant when it failed to exclude damaging hearsay testimony. The case was remanded for a new trial.

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