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Brief a case - Essay Example

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Facts: On February 27th, 2006 Drug Enforcement Agency Ron Skipper conducted surveillance on a dwelling house in Georgia where it was suspected that illicit drugs were being carried out. Skipper observed an Infiniti arriving at the residence and DeLatorre exiting the home and…
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Download file to see previous pages At one point the cars pulled up alongside one another and the drivers spoke to each other. A traffic stop involving the Ford discovered cocaine and DeLatorre had been observed driving by the traffic stop twice and slowing down to observe the scene. A search warrant executed on the home uncovered more drug-related evidence. DeLatorre was subsequently arrested and charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine and aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute.
Legal Issues: Delatorre appealed his convictions on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to substantiate the conviction on each of the counts. In particular, Delatorre argued that the probative value of the evidence against him was outweighed by its prejudicial effect. Delatorre also argued that the trial judge abused the discretion by allowing the prosecution’s expert witness to give evidence on issues that fell outside of the witness’s expertise.
Legal Reasoning: Referring to the Federal Rules of Evidence, Rule 702, the appellate court ruled that experts may testify to any fact or opinion based on “specialized knowledge that will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue” provided the expert is “qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training or education” (Rule 702). Moreover, if the court errs in determining the expertise of a specific expert witness pursuant to the definition provided in Rule 702, the conviction will not be overturned if the error was harmless (United States v Carrazana, 921 F.2d 1557 (11th Cir. 1991). The expert witness testified to drug language and schemes characteristic of the illegal drug trade. The appellate court ruled that courts have allowed Drug Enforcement Officers to testify as experts relative to drug trades language and schemes. In this case the appellate court was satisfied that the expert witness, as a Drug Enforcement Officer had the necessary ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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