UNITED STATES V. ROSARIO, NO. 12-3963 (2D CIR. APR. 2, 2014) (WESLEY, CARNEY, AND RAKOFF) (SUMMARY ORDER), AVAILABLE HERE
The defendant in this case appealed his jury conviction for conspiracy to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute heroin. He argued that the evidence was insufficient to support the conspiracy conviction and that other errors denied him a fair trial, including whether the jury should have considered the fact of a prior felony information. Because the sufficiency claim related to the credibility of cooperating witnesses, the Court deferred to the jury’s credibility determinations and held that the jury had “ample evidence” to find the defendant guilty.
With regard to the prior felony information question, the Court cited the continuing validity of the Supreme Court’s decision in Almendarez-Torres and held that “the fact of a prior felony conviction may be decided by a judge, not a jury, even if that fact increases the statutory minimum term of imprisonment to which the defendant is exposed.” The Court relied on the more recent Supreme Court decision in Alleyne v. United States, which specifically declined to revisit the holding in Almendarez-Torres.