United States v. Ramirez, No. 07-2912-cr (Calabresi, Cabranes, Parker, CJJ) (2d Cir. June 29, 2010)
In this case, the circuit found that the district court erred in applying the “impeachment by contradiction” doctrine. But since the error was harmless, it affirmed.
At his drug conspiracy trial, defendant Jose Luis Rodriguez testified that he was not knowingly involved in the drug trafficking of which he was accused. He claimed that he was merely the driver for Jose Adames, the group’s ringleader, and never saw or knew of any cocaine on their trips. Rodriguez testified that he served as Adames’ chauffeur until late 2004, when he received a warning that Adames was involved with drugs, at which time he stopped driving for him.
To rebut this, the government called a police officer who testified that he saw Rodriguez handle cocaine during an unrelated traffic stop after the charged conspiracy had ended. …