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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit issues two Indiana decisions today

In US v. Wheeler (ND Ind., Judge Miller), a 19-page opinion, Judge Cudahy writes:

A jury convicted James Wheeler of embezzling, stealing or otherwise converting employee contributions to his company’s health insurance and 401(k) funds in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 669 and 664. The district court sentenced him to concurrent 63 and 60 month sentences and three years’ supervised release. On appeal, Wheeler raises two challenges to his conviction. First, he contends that the district court erred in defining the mens rea element of the offense under § 669. He also argues that the court admitted impermissible prior act evidence in violation of Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b). In addition to challenging his conviction, Wheeler challenges his sentence on the grounds that the district court imposed an enhancement that lacked evidentiary support. We affirm Wheeler’s conviction and sentence.
In US v. Ervin and Zambrana (ND Ind., Judge Springmann), a 20-page opinion, Judge Kanne writes:
A federal grand jury charged Jay Zambrana and James Ervin with violating numerous provisions of federal law by participating in a drugtrafficking conspiracy, see 18 U.S.C. §§ 2, 922(g)(1), 1951, 1956(a)(1)(A)(i), (a)(1)(B)(i), 1957; 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 843(b), 846, 856(a)(1), and by killing two men in furtherance of that conspiracy, see 18 U.S.C. § 2; 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A). Before trial, Zambrana sought to sever the homicide counts from the drug-conspiracy counts, see Fed. R. Crim. P. 14(a), to no avail. A jury found Zambrana and Ervin guilty on all counts, based largely on the extensive testimony of the two men’s co-conspirators who agreed to testify against them in exchange for immunity or reduced sentences. Two years later, Zambrana and Ervin filed motions seeking a new trial, see Fed. R. Crim. P. 33(a), on the grounds that new evidence came to light showing that (1) one of the co-conspirators who testified against them engaged in several acts of misconduct while detained at the city jail in Hammond, Indiana, before trial; and (2) the government withheld the evidence of that misconduct in derogation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). The district court denied the motions. We affirm.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 2, 2008 02:12 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions