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United States v. Knox

August 28, 2002

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
CARLOS D. KNOX, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. No. 4:00CR400072-001--J. Phil Gilbert, Judge.

Before Rovner, Diane P. Wood, and Evans, Circuit Judges.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rovner, Circuit Judge

As amended August 29, 2002.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
CARLOS D. KNOX, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. No. 4:00CR400072-001--J. Phil Gilbert, Judge.

Before Rovner, Diane P. Wood, and Evans, Circuit Judges.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rovner, Circuit Judge

ARGUED FEBRUARY 15, 2002

A jury found Carlos Knox guilty on two counts of possessing crack cocaine with the intent to distribute, 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). The district court sentenced him to 240 months' imprisonment on the first count and 180 months' imprisonment on the second count, to be served consecutively. The district court also imposed concurrent terms of 3 years' supervised release, a fine of $500 for each count, and special assessments totaling $200. On appeal Knox contends that the district court improperly admitted evidence of his prior bad acts, that his trial counsel had a conflict of interest, and that he was sentenced in violation of Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000). We affirm.

I. Background

Once in January 1999 and again in June 2000, Knox sold crack cocaine to buyers cooperating with law enforcement agents. He was arrested on federal drug charges in August 2000 and went to trial the following December. At trial the government introduced evidence of nine other drug transactions in which Knox had participated. Each time before admitting the evidence the district court instructed the jury that the evidence was being offered for the limited purpose of showing Knox's knowledge and intent, not for the purpose of showing his propensity to commit the charged crimes. See Fed. R. Evid. 404(b). Defense counsel's only objection to the admission of the Rule 404(b) evidence was to the playing of an audiotape of a controlled buy that occurred approximately one month before the January 1999 transaction:

MR. VANNI: I realize the Court is letting this evidence in. It's Rule 404(b) evidence, but nonetheless, I do want to make, for the record, an objection to the playing of this particular tape of this particular transaction on December 3rd on the basis that Mr. Knox is not charged with this particular transaction.

THE COURT: Okay.

MR. VANNI: I want to make that for ...


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