Thursday, July 30, 2015

Crack Conspiracy Conviction Affirmed

U.S. v. Dewberry, 2015 WL 3853576 (6/23/15) (Kan.) (Published) - The 10th finds sufficient evidence for a conviction of conspiracy to distribute 280 or more grams of crack. There was plenty of evidence that Mr. Dewberry was dealing with lots of powder cocaine, and testimony about one alleged incident where he helped cook 3.5 grams of powder cocaine into crack. This was enough to show Mr. Dewberry reasonably foresaw the large amounts of powder cocaine he gave to his co-cook over the course of months would be turned into at least 280 grams of crack. The 10th says there would have been insufficient evidence without some testimony that Mr. Dewberry knew his powder was being turned into crack. The 10th ruled that an insufficiency challenge based on a challenge to the credibility of a witness [in this case the one person who testified Mr. Dewberry helped make crack] will get a defendant nowhere. For essentially the same reasons, the d. ct.'s drug-quantity calculation was not clearly erroneous. Mr. Dewberry pays the price for conciseness. His "mainly" two-sentence argument in the opening brief on his severance motion was not enough to preserve his claim. Moreover, Mr. Dewberry did not show denial of his first motion to sever defendants caused him prejudice [Mr. Dewberry complained about the delay it caused] where the district court granted his second severance motion.