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United States v. Crawford
February 8, 1985
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania (Harrisburg)
Before: SEITZ, GIBBONS and SLOVITER, Circuit Judges
MEMORANDUM OPINION OF THE COURT
Appellant Robert Crawford was convicted by a jury of conspiracy to import marijuana into the United States, and of the substantive charge of importation of marijuana. The district court granted his post-trial motion for acquittal on the substantive importation charge after finding that venue was not proper in the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
On his appeal from the conspiracy conviction, Crawford contends that the district court erred in denying his motion to dismiss the indictment which was based on the ground that the prosecutor was guilty of prosecutorial misconduct by making false and prejudicial remarks before the grand jury. The essence of Crawford's claim is that the prosecutor improperly referred to another crime, with which some of the coconspirators [co-conspirators] but not Crawford were involved, when he told the grand jury that "the first leg" of the "related marijuana smuggling" charge had been tried the prior week. The district court denied Crawford's motion to dismiss the conspiracy count, because in concluded that there was sufficient independent evidence before the grand jury with respect to Crawford's participation in this conspiracy to support the indictment.
In reviewing the grand jury testimony the court found that there was nothing that indicated that the statement by the prosecution with regard to the other offense was anything other than an isolated incident. The court further found that "nowhere in the transcript of the grand jury does there appeal to be a sinister motive on the part of the prosecutor." Appellant cites no authority for dismissal of an indictment where the misconduct alleged was solely an isolated incident that was unmotivated by sinister ends, and we know of none. Given the circumstances in this case, the district court did not err in denying the motion to dismiss the indictment.
Appellant also contends that the conviction should be reversed because the government was allowed to introduce evidence of an offense which was clearly not within the jurisdiction and venue of the District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. That evidence was introduced as relevant to Count 2, the substantive count that was ultimately dismissed by the district court for lack of venue. This issue does not appear to have been the subject of any of the post-trial motions made in the district court since the district court's opinion refers only to the evidentiary claim regarding questions with respect to cocaine smuggling activities by defendants and not the importation of the marijuana. Assuming, however, that defendant probably preserved its claim with regard to the evidence of the importation of marijuana from Jamaica, its introduction would not warrant reversal of the conviction on the conspiracy count since it was independently admissible in support of the conspiracy charge.
The judgment of conviction will be affirmed.
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