789 F.3d 60 (2nd Cir. 2015), 14-239-cr, United States v. Brock

Docket Nº:14-239-cr
Citation:789 F.3d 60
Opinion Judge:Barrington D. Parker, Circuit Judge :
Party Name:UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Appellee, v. JAYQUIS BROCK, MARK BASKERVILLE, RUSSELL BATTLES, STEPHANIE D'AGOSTINO, SHERROD DANIELS, LARRY LEVORE, HARRY DIAZ, STEVEN DICKS, DERRON DOCKERY, DEVANTE FORTUNE, MAURICE HILL, SHAMAINE HOBBY, EDMUND JACKSON, SR., JAMES JENKINS, MILTON JOHNSON, TORRENCE JONES, DEMETRIUS LITTLE, KRISTIN LONGOBARDI, ERIC LUMPKIN,
Attorney:JEREMIAH DONOVAN, Old Saybrook, CT, for Defendant-Appellant James Dickerson. ROBERT M. SPECTOR (Marc H. Silverman, on the brief), Assistant United States Attorneys for Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, for Appellee.
Judge Panel:Before: WINTER, JACOBS, and PARKER, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:June 03, 2015
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
 
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Page 60

789 F.3d 60 (2nd Cir. 2015)

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Appellee,

v.

JAYQUIS BROCK, MARK BASKERVILLE, RUSSELL BATTLES, STEPHANIE D'AGOSTINO, SHERROD DANIELS, LARRY LEVORE, HARRY DIAZ, STEVEN DICKS, DERRON DOCKERY, DEVANTE FORTUNE, MAURICE HILL, SHAMAINE HOBBY, EDMUND JACKSON, SR., JAMES JENKINS, MILTON JOHNSON, TORRENCE JONES, DEMETRIUS LITTLE, KRISTIN LONGOBARDI, ERIC LUMPKIN, WENDEL MCDUFFIE, RYAN MOORE, JAVON MORNING, GEMINI NAPOLEON, CHARLES NICHOLS, RAYMOND RICE, CHANEL SINCLAIR, ROGER SULLIVAN, ELEAZAR THOMPSON, TYLAN THOMPSON, ALVIN TOWNSEND, RONNIE WASHINGTON, TYRONE WILLIAMS, DARREN WINFRY, AARON MOORE, MANOKUS FIELDS, BRANDON TOLSON, JOSEPH JACKSON, Defendants, JAMES DICKERSON, Defendant-Appellant

No. 14-239-cr

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

June 3, 2015

Argued December 17, 2014.

Page 61

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. No. 3:10-cr-227 (EBB) -- Ellen Bree Burns, Judge.

Defendant-Appellant James Dickerson appeals from a judgment of conviction in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut (Ellen Bree Burns, Judge) for conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § § 841 and 846, and distribution of crack cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841. Because we find that there was insufficient evidence on which a jury could convict Dickerson on the conspiracy count, we REVERSE the conviction for conspiracy and REMAND for resentencing on the distribution count alone.

JEREMIAH DONOVAN, Old Saybrook, CT, for Defendant-Appellant James Dickerson.

ROBERT M. SPECTOR (Marc H. Silverman, on the brief), Assistant United States Attorneys for Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, for Appellee.

Before: WINTER, JACOBS, and PARKER, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 62

Barrington D. Parker, Circuit Judge :

In April 2012, James Dickerson was indicted along with thirty-seven other defendants and charged in two counts -- conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § § 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(B), and 846, and distribution of cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § § 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(C). Following a four day trial, Dickerson was convicted on both counts and sentenced to 168 months, to run concurrently. On appeal, Dickerson challenges his conviction on the conspiracy, but not the substantive distribution count. As to the conspiracy conviction, we agree with Dickerson that the evidence establishes no more than his role as a mere purchaser from the conspiracy and cannot support an inference that he joined it. Consequently, we do not address his alternative argument for a new trial as to that count on the basis that a juror committed misconduct during deliberations by accessing a dictionary definition of the word " conspiracy" .

The indictment targeted a drug distribution conspiracy based in the Newhallville neighborhood on the border of New Haven and Hamden, Connecticut. Joseph Jackson, the leader of the organization, employed several lieutenants, including his nephew Jayquis Brock, to distribute crack cocaine to purchasers. Brock ultimately pled guilty and testified for the prosecution pursuant to a cooperation agreement. Brock testified that he typically sold 18 " eight-balls" (each weighing approximately 3.5 grams) of crack cocaine per day at $140-150 each. Jackson allowed Brock to keep the money he earned for every ninth eight-ball he sold.

According to Brock, Dickerson was one of his regular buyers, and had been an existing customer at the time Brock joined Jackson's organization in July 2010. Dickerson typically purchased two eight-balls at a time, on several days each week, and...

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