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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ind. Decisions - One Indiana opinion yesterday from 7th Circuit

In USA v. Kenneth Schmitt (SD Ind., Young), a 26-page opinion, Judge Williams writes:

Law enforcement officers found drugs and an assault rifle in Kenneth Schmitt’s home while executing a warrant for his arrest. Because they were found in plain view in the course of conducting a reasonable pro-tective sweep, the district court did not err in denying Schmitt’s motion to suppress evidence of the firearm. Nor did the district court err in allowing much of the drug evi-dence that was admitted against Schmitt at trial, including his conviction record for possessing marijuana with the in-tent to distribute it. However, the district court should not have admitted Schmitt’s conviction for possession of meth-amphetamine since Schmitt did not open the door to that ev-idence and it was not relevant at trial except to impeach the government’s own witness who claimed during direct exam-ination that the methamphetamine belonged to him. But the error was harmless because the government’s case would not have been substantially less persuasive without it. Final-ly, the district court did not err in enhancing Schmitt’s base offense level after concluding that he possessed the firearm in connection with the sale of drugs or in finding that Schmitt’s eleventh-hour decision to admit guilt—after he was convicted—was insufficient to qualify him for a reduc-tion in his offense level for accepting responsibility. There-fore, we affirm Schmitt’s conviction and sentence.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 21, 2014 10:14 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions