770 F.2d 912 (10th Cir. 1985), 84-2290, United States v. Brown

Docket Nº:84-2290.
Citation:770 F.2d 912
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Willie Davis BROWN, a/k/a Will Brown, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:August 20, 1985
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
 
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Page 912

770 F.2d 912 (10th Cir. 1985)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Willie Davis BROWN, a/k/a Will Brown, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 84-2290.

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

August 20, 1985

Page 913

Stephen J. Korotash, Asst. U.S. Atty., Oklahoma City, Okl. (William S. Price, U.S. Atty. and Ted A. Richardson, Asst. U.S. Atty., Oklahoma City, Okl., on brief), for plaintiff-appellee.

Fred Haddad, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for defendant-appellant.

Before MOORE, BREITENSTEIN and DOYLE, Circuit Judges.

WILLIAM E. DOYLE, Circuit Judge.

Defendant-Appellant Willie Davis Brown here appeals from a conviction in the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma. The charge was conspiracy to violate 21 U.S.C. Sec. 841(a)(1) by possession with intent to distribute marijuana and cocaine. On appeal, defendant contends that:

(1) the district court erred in admitting similar fact evidence of a prior drug arrest under Fed.R.Evid. 404(b);

(2) the prosecutorial misconduct denied him the right to an impartial jury;

(3) the evidence of his participation in the conspiracy was insufficient to support the conviction; and

(4) the government's closing arguments were grounds for a mistrial.

The facts are as follows. The evidence at trial was largely from the testimony of co-conspirators. It established that defendant was the "Florida connection" in a drug distribution operation that transported marijuana from Florida to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

On November 24, 1981, police stopped a van and arrested its occupants, Keith Holley, Donald Weber and Terry Holley. They had failed to stop at an agricultural inspection station in the rural Florida countryside. A search of the van by the police produced 170 pounds of marijuana. They found the van to be registered to a co-conspirator, Sam Ponder, who was subsequently arrested. The police then stopped an Oldsmobile automobile that had been following the van. The occupants Greg Holley and Curtis Godwin were arrested after a search disclosed 100 pounds of marijuana. Testimony at trial established that co-conspirators Godwin and Weber had completed a large drug transaction at defendant's home in Florida. Godwin testified that he and Terry Holley bagged 57 pounds of marijuana at defendant's residence.

Further, co-conspirator Michael Mustin testified that he and Terry Holley had purchased 200 pounds...

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