Archive | charge

Friday, October 11th, 2019

Internally inconsistent verdict on a single count (involving a single defendant) requires dismissal

It is long settled that inconsistency between or among counts of conviction is not a ground for dismissal. See, e.g., Dunn v. United States, 284 U.S. 390, 393 (1932); and United States v. Powell, 469 U.S. 57, 61-69 (1984). The same rule applies to jury verdicts that are inconsistent as to different defendants in a joint trial. See United States v. Dotterweich, 320 U.S. 277, 279 (1943). As the Supreme Court broadly stated in Rivera v. Harris, 454 U.S. 339, 345-46 (1981), the jury possesses “the unreviewable power [] to return a verdict of not guilty for impermissible reasons” and “[i]nconsistency in a verdict is not a sufficient reason for setting it aside.”

None of those cases, however, concerned a verdict that is internally inconsistent as to the same count and the same defendant. The Second Circuit recently encountered that situation in United States v. Janine

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Categories: charge, jury, jury charge, jury trial, verdict

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Friday, May 12th, 2017

Johnson Win in WD Va – Court Holds New York First Degree Robbery is Divisible and Does not Satisfy the Force Clause; Sessions Memo Replaces Holder Memo on Charging Decisions

In U.S. v Batista, a Western District of Virginia  judge hold that New York first degree robbery is divisible, that defendant does not have the burden to produce Shepard documents, and the offense does not satisfy the force clause.
In less uplifting news, say goodbye to the Holder Memo.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent this memo on charging and sentencing policy to AUSAs this week, instructing them to charge and pursue the most serious charges.
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Categories: charge, Johnson

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Categories: charge, Johnson

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Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

Another Fine Meth

United States v. Tran, No. 05-5644-cr (2d Cir. March 10, 2008) (Sack, Sotomayor, Hall, CJJ)

Defendant Tran was stopped by customs officers while crossing the border from Canada, ostensibly to go to a casino in New York. Customs agents found several bags of pills hidden in the interior roof lining of his rented car, but Tran repeatedly denied knowing that the drugs were there.

There were more than 40,000 pills, weighing more than 10 kilograms. A chemical analysis of 29 of the pills revealed that they contained ecstasy (in concentrations ranging from 15 to 28%) and d-methamphetamine (in concentrations ranging from 5.6 to 6.9%). At trial, a DEA chemist testified that these tests accurately reflected the amount and percentage of the drugs in all of the pills.

Tran testified, and explained that he did not know that there were drugs in the car. He was convicted, and sentenced to 235 …

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Categories: charge, drug quantity, knowledge, sufficiency, Uncategorized

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Saturday, October 6th, 2007

Et Tu, Brute – NOT!

United States v. Brutus, Docket No. 06-2710-cr (2d Cir. October 2, 2007) (Jacobs, Walker, Calabresi, CJJ)

Waline Brutus testified at her drug importation trial. During the charge, Judge Glasser instructed the jury, in relevant part, that she had a “deep personal interest in the outcome of the case” that “creates a motive to testify falsely.”

Following in the footsteps of its recent decision in United States v. Gaines, 457 F.3d 238 (2d Cir. 2006), the court held that this instruction was error. This case is significant because there had been a tension between Gaines and United States v. Tolkow, 532 F.2d 853 (2d Cir. 1976), which upheld very similar language. Here, the court very neatly cuts through the confusion and overrules Tolkow, creating a “prophylactic rule” that any “instruction that the defendant’s interest in the outcome of the case creates a motive to testify falsely impermissibly undermines the presumption of …

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Categories: charge, defendant’s credibility, harmless error, presumption of innocence, Uncategorized

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