The defendant is appealing his convictions for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and marijuana possession. The defendant argues that the evidence in the case is insufficient to support the charges against him and that the trial court made a mistake when they denied his motion for a mistrial based on the evidence of government misconduct.
A Brooklyn Criminal Lawyer said this case comes from a reverse buy sting operation. The defendant asked an acquaintance of his to broker a marijuana deal. The defendant had several prospective buyers and the friend had connections. One of the connections happened to be an informant. The friend contacted the informant to set up a transaction and a meeting was arranged between the informant, the friend, and the defendant.
During the meeting the defendant inspected a sample of marijuana and based on the sample struck a deal for a 500 pound purchase. They agreed on a price of $250 per pound. A down payment of $40,000 to $60,000 was to be provided and the remainder to be paid in two weeks.
The informant met with the defendant and told him that his buyers had returned and that the deal could be completed. The undercover officer was contacted. The informant and the officer met and agreed on the delivery of 500 pounds.
At the exchange the undercover officer wore a wire and recorded the meeting. A New York Criminal Lawyer said the defendant approached the officer and told him that the money was there. Confirmation that the drugs would be delivered to the specified stash house was given and the undercover agent had recovered $40,000 in cash.
Case Discussion and Decision
The defendant has brought up several issues regarding his trial. One of the issues is the conduct between the agent’s conversations with two of the jurors during the case. The district court looked into this issue and determined that the conversation between the agent and the jurors was improper, but did not result in prejudice against the defendant. The court then questioned the jurors about any discussion they had with the two jurors that were dismissed. None of the jurors had communicated with them. The court was correct in dismissing the jurors and replacing them with the alternates and allowing the case to proceed. The appeal on this issue by the defendant is found to be without merit.
In regard to the evidence, the court has determined that the evidence that was provided was not sufficient to support the conviction for possession of marijuana as the defendant did not ever actually have possession of the marijuana. For this reason, the court will vacate the conviction for this charge. The conspiracy charge is upheld.
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