U.S. v. Veal, No. 92-2145

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM
Citation23 F.3d 985
Decision Date13 April 1994
Docket NumberNo. 92-2145
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Dennis VEAL, Defendant-Appellant.

Page 985

23 F.3d 985
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Dennis VEAL, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 92-2145.
United States Court of Appeals,
Sixth Circuit.
Argued March 7, 1994.
Decided April 13, 1994. *

Page 986

Jonathan Tukel (argued and briefed), Office of the U.S. Atty., Detroit, MI, for plaintiff-appellee.

Page 987

Herbert A. Jordan (briefed), Detroit, MI, Derrick A. Carter (argued), School of Law Library, Documents Dept., Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN, for defendant-appellant.

Before: NELSON and SILER, Circuit Judges; and WELLFORD, Senior Circuit Judge.

PER CURIAM.

The defendant, a registered pharmacist, was convicted on charges of violating 21 U.S.C. Sec. 841 by distributing controlled substances illegally and by possessing controlled substances with intent to distribute them illegally. He was also convicted on charges of violating 21 U.S.C. Sec. 827 by failing to maintain proper controlled substance records.

The defendant has appealed his conviction, contending, among other things, that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the charges against him. Finding none of the defendant's contentions persuasive, we shall affirm the conviction.

I.

In October of 1990 investigators from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration received reports from drug wholesalers that the defendant, Dennis Veal, was making inordinately large purchases of Doriden and Tylenol 4. Doriden, a sleeping medication, and Tylenol 4, a pain medication containing codeine, are Schedule III controlled substances.

These drugs have a heroin-like effect when ingested in combination. The combination is commonly referred to in the illegal drug market as "fours and doors." Although a registered pharmacist pays anywhere from four to seven cents per pill of either variety, a single dose of the "fours and doors" combination costs about $20 on the street.

On October 5, 1990, DEA investigators went to the defendant's pharmacy to serve him with a notice of intent to inspect his records, prescriptions, and inventory. The defendant agreed that the agents could perform the inspection four days later, at which time he said he would turn over his records. When the agents returned on October 9, the defendant asked them whether they would be removing the records. The officers answered that the records would be seized only if they were found to contain incriminating evidence. The defendant responded, "So you'll take my records." The officers reiterated that they would only take the records if they were incriminating, and the defendant made the same response. The defendant then withdrew his consent to the search, and the officers left the premises.

The officers subsequently obtained a search warrant pursuant to which they went through Mr. Veal's pharmacy records. They discovered significant discrepancies between his controlled substance purchases and the quantities that could be accounted for. The records also revealed that defendant Veal had filled numerous phony prescriptions for Doriden and Tylenol 4. Some of the prescriptions bore the name of a fictitious doctor, and others bore the names of actual doctors who testified at trial that they had not, in fact, written the prescriptions.

Mr. Veal was tried on a thirteen-count indictment, one count of which was eventually withdrawn by the government. The jury returned a verdict of guilty on six counts and not guilty on the remaining counts. A motion for acquittal or a new trial was denied, and this appeal followed.

II.

A. Sufficiency of Evidence

Mr. Veal contends that the evidence produced at trial was insufficient to support a conviction on any of the charges of which the jury found him guilty. The question to be answered in this regard is "whether, after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt." Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 2789, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979).

As a registered pharmacist, Mr. Veal was entitled to dispense controlled substances in the usual course of his professional practice. United States v. Hughes, 895 F.2d

Page 988

1135, 1143 n. 11 (6th Cir.1990). To convict him on the drug distribution charges, therefore, the government was required to prove (a) that Mr. Veal filled prescriptions that were not issued for a legitimate medical purpose, and (b) that he did so knowing that the prescriptions were invalid. Id. To prove the requisite knowledge, the government was required to show, at a minimum, that the defendant deliberately closed his eyes to wrongdoing that should have been obvious to him. United States v. Seelig, 622 F.2d 207, 213 (6th Cir.), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 869, 101 S.Ct. 206, 66 L.Ed.2d 89 (1980).

Mr. Veal did not dispute at trial that he had filled invalid prescriptions. He...

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25 practice notes
  • Part II
    • United States
    • Federal Register April 06, 2009
    • 6 Abril 2009
    ...have referred to such conduct as ``willful blindness'' or ``deliberate ignorance.'' As one court has stated: \36\ United States v. Veal, 23 F.3d 985, 988 (6th Cir. Ignorance is deliberate if the defendant was presented with facts that put her on notice that criminal activity was particularl......
  • U.S. v. Ailsworth, No. 94-40017-01-SAC.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Kansas
    • 18 Noviembre 1996
    ...confusion likely caused by such testimony and its marginal value, the court properly excluded that evidence. Cf. United States v. Veal, 23 F.3d 985, 989 (6th Cir.1994) (district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding evidence that government had miscalculated number of Page 1496 pr......
  • Marcusse v. United States, File No. 1:09-CV-913
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • 26 Octubre 2012
    ...so long as the comment is based on references to the testimony itself and does not imply a personal opinion. See United States v. Veal, 23 F.3d 985, 989 (6th Cir. 1994). Scouring the transcript, there appears to be only one isolated statement that even arguably was improper: immediately aft......
  • U.S. v. McVeigh, No. 97-1287
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • 8 Septiembre 1998
    ...activities of the Elohim City group would inevitably divert the jury's attention from the issues of the trial. See United States v. Veal, 23 F.3d 985, 989 (6th Cir.1994) (upholding a trial court's refusal to allow a defendant to show that the government's investigation had been "sloppy" bec......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
24 cases
  • U.S. v. Ailsworth, No. 94-40017-01-SAC.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Kansas
    • 18 Noviembre 1996
    ...confusion likely caused by such testimony and its marginal value, the court properly excluded that evidence. Cf. United States v. Veal, 23 F.3d 985, 989 (6th Cir.1994) (district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding evidence that government had miscalculated number of Page 1496 pr......
  • Marcusse v. United States, File No. 1:09-CV-913
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • 26 Octubre 2012
    ...so long as the comment is based on references to the testimony itself and does not imply a personal opinion. See United States v. Veal, 23 F.3d 985, 989 (6th Cir. 1994). Scouring the transcript, there appears to be only one isolated statement that even arguably was improper: immediately aft......
  • U.S. v. McVeigh, No. 97-1287
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • 8 Septiembre 1998
    ...activities of the Elohim City group would inevitably divert the jury's attention from the issues of the trial. See United States v. Veal, 23 F.3d 985, 989 (6th Cir.1994) (upholding a trial court's refusal to allow a defendant to show that the government's investigation had been "sloppy" bec......
  • Griffin v. Perry, Case No. 2:18-cv-21
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • 19 Marzo 2021
    ...during her closing argument when emphasizing discrepancies between the evidence and that defendant's testimony. See United States v. Veal, 23 F.3d 985, 989 (6th Cir. 1994). To avoid impropriety, however, such comments must "reflect reasonable inferences from the evidence adduced at trial." ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 provisions
  • Part II
    • United States
    • Federal Register April 06, 2009
    • 6 Abril 2009
    ...have referred to such conduct as ``willful blindness'' or ``deliberate ignorance.'' As one court has stated: \36\ United States v. Veal, 23 F.3d 985, 988 (6th Cir. Ignorance is deliberate if the defendant was presented with facts that put her on notice that criminal activity was particularl......

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