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Defendant Claims 6th Amendment Right to Impartial Jury was Violated


The appellant was convicted on a charge of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and distribution of approximately 530 pounds of marijuana. A New York Criminal Lawyer said he is appealing this conviction on the ground that the trial court’s examination of prospective jurors was inadequate and that the venue for the distribution count was improper.

Case Background

The conspiracy and distribution convictions of the defendant come from his attempt to sell a large amount of marijuana to an undercover agent. The transaction between the defendant and the undercover cop was arranged by a co-conspirator. The undercover agent was posing as a buyer from Michigan and agreed to buy 500 pounds of marijuana at the price of $250 per pound.

The defendant first met the undercover agent on the seventh of April, 1981. At the time the transaction was discussed the defendant, the undercover agent, an informant, and another individual were present. It was agreed that the agent would accompany the defendant the following day to obtain the marijuana.

At around noon the following day they all met in a parking lot. The undercover agent showed the defendant the money for the purchase. They then got into a car and headed south. They arrived in a parking lot and met two other people. These two were also charged in the conspiracy charge.

While at the parking lot the bales of marijuana were loaded into the van, and they headed back to where they had left the agent’s car. On their way they stopped at a store and bought some blankets to cover up the marijuana bales. A Brooklyn Criminal Lawyer said when they arrived at the location the defendant went to the trunk in hopes of retrieving his money. Instead, the defendant was arrested.

Appellant Contentions

The defendant contends that during the trial the on voir dire questioning of the jurors for the case deprived him of his sixth amendment right to be tried by an impartial jury. Before the trial the appellant moved to the court to permit his counsel to conduct this kind of questioning for prospective jurors in order to discover potential bias. The defendant offered a list of 204 questions that he wanted asked of each juror. The court denied his motion, but allowed 34 of his questions to be asked.

Court Discussion and Decision

In review of the contentions that have been raised by the defendant the court finds that the trial court did not error by only allowing a certain number of questions to be asked during the search for a jury. The court allowed the questions that were relevant to the case to help determine whether or not they would be prejudice against the defendant during the trial.

The other contention made by the defendant deals with the venue where the distribution of marijuana charge was held. This contention is found to be without merit as the defendant was found with the illegal substance throughout the area where he was tried and the venue could have been anywhere that the defendant was during his time in possession of the drug.

Stephen Bilkis & Associates is a law office with several offices in New York. We offer free consultations when you visit any of our offices for the first time, whether you have been charged with drug possession, theft, or sex crimes. Contact us today to speak with a qualified New York attorney.

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