US v. Grullon. No. 07-1982 (10/24/08). In this case, the First turns back a sufficiency challenge even though all the testimony came from the defendant’s “confederates.” Also, the first says that interpreting “drug talk” to be, in fact “drug talk” was for the jury.
But, there is an actual legal issue in there. There was a drug transaction that was dismissed for violation of the Speedy Trial Act (because an indictment wasn’t filed quickly enough). But the government wanted to rely on that transaction as part of the conspiracy charge. The First concludes “the statute says nothing about barring the institution of a new charge for a different offense based on some or all of the underlying transaction and certainly nothing about barring the use of pertinent evidence of the dismissed charge so far as it might prove the new charge.”
At the end of it, is an interesting prosecutorial misconduct issue. The AUSA said that jurors should "follow [their] oath ... [and] find the defendant guilty . . . because it is the right thing to do." The First “previously told prosecutors not to use such language.” But, the First says that this was probably harmless, so the message is clear: prosecutors are free to use such language. So, a green light is given.
Also, some anti-lawyer jokes were found in the jury room. No evidentiary hearing was held on what the jurors were thinking. The First says that this was okay.