994 F.2d 1241 (7th Cir. 1993), 92-2591, United States v. Easley

Docket Nº:92-2591, 92-2592.
Citation:994 F.2d 1241
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Lynn Edward EASLEY, Appellant.
Case Date:May 21, 1993
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
 
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Page 1241

994 F.2d 1241 (7th Cir. 1993)

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,

v.

Lynn Edward EASLEY, Appellant.

Nos. 92-2591, 92-2592.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

May 21, 1993

Argued March 29, 1993.

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Andrea L. Smith (argued), Office of Federal Public Defender, East St. Louis, IL (Phillip J. Kavanaugh, on the brief), for appellant Easley.

Stephen B. Clark (argued), Asst. U.S. Atty., Fairview Heights, IL (Frederick J. Hess, U.S. Atty., and Ranley R. Killian, Jr., Asst. U.S. Atty., on the brief), for appellee U.S.

Before BAUER, Chief Judge, ROVNER, Circuit Judge, and TIMBERS, Senior Circuit Judge. [*]

TIMBERS, Senior Circuit Judge.

Appellant Easley appeals from a judgment entered in the Southern District of Illinois, James L. Foreman, District Judge, upon a jury verdict convicting him of distributing cocaine, a Schedule II narcotic controlled substance, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) (1988). Easley was sentenced under the sentencing guidelines to 180 months imprisonment.

Easley claims that (1) he was denied a fair trial because of the use of the term "plea bargaining" in the prosecution's summation argument; (2) the court erred in not allowing certain photographs in evidence; and (3) the evidence was insufficient to support the jury's guilty verdict.

For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

I.

We summarize only those facts and prior proceedings believed necessary to an understanding of the issues raised on appeal.

On September 25, 1991, Easley was indicted by a grand jury on one count of distributing approximately 3.4 grams of cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) (1988). On February 11, 1992, a jury returned a verdict of guilty. On June 22, 1992, he was sentenced as stated above.

Several key witnesses testified substantially as follows. Larry Binnon, formerly an inspector with the Southern Illinois Drug Task Force of the Illinois State Police, testified that on March 29, 1991 his office received a telephone call from Billy Claussen, a confidential informant. Inspector Steve Prather spoke with Claussen who informed Prather that Easley was willing to sell Claussen an eighth of an ounce of cocaine for $300 if they met at Randy's Lounge in Mount Vernon, Illinois. The agents established a plan for surveillance and for the purchase of cocaine. Binnon further testified that Prather entered Randy's Lounge and remained for approximately one hour.

Prather testified about events he witnessed while in Randy's Lounge. Claussen was already in the lounge. He identified Easley for Prather and explained that Easley was waiting for another person to bring the cocaine. Approximately 20 minutes later, Lester Baine entered and left the bar. Easley then gestured for Claussen and Prather to follow him toward the pool table area. They stopped at the end of a hallway near a door leading to the men's restroom.

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Prather recounted that Easley wished to speak only with Claussen. Prather walked to the end of the hallway leading from the restroom to the bar. He stated that the hallway was lighted and that he had an adequate view of the transaction despite not being able to hear the conversation. Prather saw Easley produce a clear plastic bag of white powder and hand it to Claussen. Easley and Claussen then walked toward Prather. Easley entered the bar area. Claussen and Prather entered the men's restroom. There, Prather took possession of the bag.

Claussen told Prather that Easley wanted Prather to give the money for the cocaine to Claussen. Prather refused. He instructed Claussen to bring Easley into the restroom. Claussen did so. Claussen testified that they discussed the quality and price of the cocaine. Easley told Prather that he required $300. Prather gave Easley $300 in cash and placed the cocaine in his own shirt pocket.

The trio exited the restroom and reentered the bar. Prather and Claussen lingered for approximately 20 minutes. They then left and met the other agents.

Wesley Burns, an investigator from defense counsel's office, testified that photographs he had taken of the restroom at Randy's Lounge accurately represented it. He further testified that the owner of Randy's Lounge told him that the restroom had not changed since March 29, 1991, the day of the transaction. In these photographs, defense counsel was posed in the restroom to emphasize the room's limited space...

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