Conviction for Drugs Reversed On Evidentiary Grounds & Denial of Habeas Petition In Another Drug Related Conviction - Criminal Law - U.S. Fourth Circuit
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Conviction for Drugs Reversed On Evidentiary Grounds & Denial of Habeas Petition In Another Drug Related Conviction

US v. Johnson, 08-5098, concerned a challenge to a conviction of defendant for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine.  In reversing, the court remanded the matter in holding that the district court abused its discretion in admitting a DEA agent's testimony as a lay witness under Rule 701, and this error was not harmless.  The court also held that the district court erred in admitting the testimony of a prior, alleged drug customer, under Rule 404(b), and despite the district court's limiting instruction, this error was not harmless.

US v. Cooper, 08-7131, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of defendant's request that his sentence for his drug trafficking and firearms offenses be vacated on the ground that he received ineffective assistance of counsel, in a section 2255 proceeding.  In affirming the denial, the court held that, because defendant repeatedly expressed his desire to have the criminal proceeding concluded, received the best possible sentence he could have received under the agreement he entered into with the government, and had no nonfrivolous issues to appeal, defendant has not established that counsel was constitutionally ineffective for failing to consult with him about an appeal or that defendant was prejudiced by counsel's failure to consult with him.

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