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Drug Conspiracy and Social Security Disability Benefits Cases

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By FindLaw Staff on April 14, 2010 5:23 PM

In US v. Lockett, No. 09-1322, the Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's drug conspiracy conviction, holding that 1) a witness's testimony clearly demonstrated the existence of the agreement to distribute drugs, defendant's knowledge of the agreement, and defendant's participation in the agreement; 2) if residual prejudice survived the district court's curative instruction following an improper question by the government, that prejudice was harmless when compared to the substantial evidence of defendant's guilt; and 3) the government offered a race-neutral basis for striking a juror, and defendant did not show that the basis was a pretext for purposeful discrimination.

Dipple v. Astrue, No. 09-1717, concerned a petition for review of the denial of Social Security disability benefits.  The Eighth Circuit denied the petition, on the grounds that 1) the administrative law judge (ALJ) adequately considered a physician's report and explained her reasoning for disagreeing with the doctor's conclusions; and 2) an express credibility determination was not required because the ALJ did not reject petitioner's subjective complaints of pain, but rather discounted her account of her cognitive and social impairments.

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