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United States v. Ojukwa

*fn*: June 16, 1983.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
CHARLES C. OJUKWA, A/K/A CHARLES C. OJUKWU, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. No. 81 CR 194 -- Terrence T. Evans, Judge.

Bauer and Flaum, Circuit Judges, and Fairchild, Senior Circuit Judge.

Author: Fairchild

FAIRCHILD, Senior Circuit Judge.

On December 8, 1982 defendant Charles Ojukwu (a/k/a Ojukwa) was indicted on one count of conspiracy to make a material false statement to a federally licensed firearms dealer. At his trial, one of Ojukwu's two alleged co-conspirators, Joseph Vopravil, testified for the prosecution. Without objection Vopravil read to the jury a letter signed by the United States Attorney stating that in exchange for his testimony the government would dismiss the pending indictment against him but would not protect Vopravil from prosecution for any perjury. (Tr. 10-11) Following Vopravil's testimony, an investigating agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms ("ATF") was called to testify. On cross-examination the agent testified that Lynn Midell, the other alleged co-conspirator, was told that the government agreed to "advise his parole and probation people" of his cooperation if Midell would assist the investigators in identifying the third, as yet unknown, co-conspirator (later identified as Ojukwu). (Tr. 128-29) Reminding the agent that Vopravil also was "given a deal by the government," Ojukwu's counsel asked, "So, basically of the three people charged, Charles Ojukwu is the only one who has not been given a deal, is that correct?" and the agent answered, "I believe that to be correct." (Tr. 130) On redirect the prosecution asked the agent to elaborate on the nature of Midell's "deal."

Q. Special Agent Carlson, are you aware of the terms of the plea negotiation that Mr. Midell had with the United States?

A. Yes, sir, I am.

Q. That included that he plead guilty to a crime, did it not?

A. Yes, sir, it did.

Q. And, in fact, and that crime should be a felony, is it not?

A. Yes.

Q. And no recommendation as to what the judge would ever give Mr. Midell, did it not?

A. Yes.

(Tr. 136) No objection was raised to this line of questioning nor did the district court give an instruction limiting the purpose for which the ...


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