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Showing posts from February, 2011

Court Stands Strong Behind Sharp Tactics

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has once again stood behind prosecutors’ tactics of fueling minimums in drugs cases in which defendants refuse to snitch. The court upheld, for the second time, the conviction of a drug dealer who refused to act as a government informant and was therefore subject to a higher minimum. The panel of three judges unanimously upheld this conviction.

Convicted drug dealer Jay Kent refused to act as a government informant after being caught with crack in July, 2008. The Assistant Federal Public Defender tried entering into a guilty plea for his client before the government filed the 851 information, triggering steeper penalties based on prior drug convictions. However, the guilty plea had to be withdrawn after the Assistant U.S. Attorney revealed the copies of the bolstered charges and the Court accepted the 851 information. This raised the exposure from five to forty to ten to life.

The appeals court later held that there was no evidence to support the c…

US v. Morris: Judge Patel Reversed

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court judgment - that of Judge Patel. The court held that the government's decision to carry out an earlier threat to increase a defendant's potential sentence following his refusal to cooperate as a witness in a trial of a confederate did not violate the defendant's due process rights.  In other words, the court upheld the government's ability to threaten a defendant with the filing of his 21 U.S.C. §851(a)(1) priors if defendant would not cooperate against co-defendants and/or plead guilty.

The case is: United States v. Morris, 10-10009.