United States v. Davis (P)

In the defendant’s trial for drug distribution, the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting (1) a confidential informant’s out-of-court statement about purchasing drugs from the defendant prior to the relevant investigation, (2) an officer’s photographs of the informant’s cellphone screen; and (3) a recording of a phone conversation between the informant and the defendant.

The defendant’s sentence also was not procedurally unreasonable: The district court adequately explained its decision to credit the testimony of the defendant’s coconspirators about drug quantities despite the acquittal on the conspiracy count.

Contrary to the defendant’s argument, a court may consider acquitted conduct in establishing drug amounts. Even if a court knows that a jury had a reasonable doubt about drug quantities, that doubt would not preclude the court’s finding of those quantities by a preponderance of the evidence, a lower standard.

Further, the jury’s not-guilty verdict on the conspiracy count could have been based on numerous reasons relating to doubt about the defendant’s involvement or the absence of proof of an element of the crime. A finding of the drug quantity involved was therefore not necessary to a verdict of acquittal on the conspiracy count.

As the district court acted within its lawful discretion by relying on testimony relating to an acquitted count, its explanation that it found co-conspirator testimony convincing and the defendant’s argument to the contrary to be unsupported was an adequate explanation.

Affirmed.

United States v. Davis (P), No. 18-4095, Mar. 19, 2019. 4th Cir. (Niemeyer) from WDNC at Statesville (Voorhees).



Categories: 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Opinions, Published

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