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United States v. Jones

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division

August 29, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
EDDIE JONES, Defendant.

OPINION

SUE E. MYERSCOUGH, District Judge.

On December 11, 2014, Eddie Jones was convicted of possession with the intent to distribute 28 grams or more of crack cocaine. After successfully seeking new counsel, Defendant filed a Motion for a New Trial (d/e 59). Because Defendant has not shown that the Court's admission of a declarant's statement jeopardized Defendant's substantial rights or that his trial counsel was ineffective, the Court DENIES Defendant's Motion for a New Trial (d/e 59).

I. BACKGROUND

A two-count Indictment charged Defendant Eddie Jones with possession with the intent to distribute 28 grams or more of crack cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B), and distributing crack cocaine on February 18, 2013 in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B). One week before Defendant's criminal trial began on December 9, 2013, the Government moved to dismiss Count 2 without prejudice. After the two-day trial, the jury found Defendant guilty on Count 1-possession with the intent to distribute crack cocaine-and that the Government had proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the offense involved 28 grams or more of crack cocaine. Defendant subsequently filed the Motion for a New Trial (d/e 59) that is now before the Court.

A. Officer Testifies At Trial About Controlled Buy In February And Tracking Defendant's Car Months Later.

Six police officers and a chemist and fingerprint examiner for the Drug Enforcement Administration ("DEA") testified for the Government at Defendant's trial. Springfield Police Officer Timothy Zajicek was the first Government witness to take the stand. During direct examination, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Childress asked Officer Zajicek whether Officer Zajicek "receive[d] information regarding the sale of crack cocaine in Springfield by an individual known as Eddie" on February 18, 2013. Trial Tr., d/e 55 at 9. Officer Zajicek answered "yes" and said that he "received that information from a confidential source." Id . Officer Zajicek went on to testify that he "receive[d] information" that "Eddie" was selling crack from a silver car with military license plates and from his house. Id. at 9-10. After Officer Zajicek "receive[d] that information, " Office Zajicek testified that he organized a controlled buy between the confidential source ("CS") and "Eddie." Id. at 10.

The direct examination continued:

PROSECUTOR: As you watched the confidential source approach the area, what happened next?
WITNESS: He approached the front porch of a house.
PROSECUTOR: Who is he, Officer?
WITNESS: I'm sorry. The confidential source.
PROSECUTOR: Thank you.
WITNESS: The confidential source approached a house in the 1700 block of East Brown and knocked on the door. Nobody answered. At that time the CS stayed on the porch, made a phone call, and a short time later a silver vehicle arrived.
PROSECUTOR: Were you able to observe that silver vehicle?
WITNESS: Yes, I was.
PROSECUTOR: Could you describe it, please?
WITNESS: It was a silver, four-door Chevy compact car with military license plates and a damaged rear bumper.
PROSECUTOR: Were you able to see the license plate?
WITNESS: Yes.
PROSECUTOR: What was the letters and/or numbers on the license plate?
WITNESS: It was ELJ1 and it was a military type specialty plate.
PROSECUTOR: Was there a designation as to the military aspect of the Place?
WITNESS: It has a U.S. on it.
PROSECUTOR: What did the CS then do?
WITNESS: The CS got into the silver vehicle and met with the driver. The meeting lasted approximately a minute.
PROSECUTOR: And then what happened?
WITNESS: The CS exited the silver vehicle and walked back to a pre-determined location, where he got in my vehicle. As he was walking back, the CS was under constant police supervision; he didn't stop or have contact with anyone else.
PROSECUTOR: Did you then meet personally with the CS?
WITNESS: Yes.
PROSECUTOR: And what happened?
WITNESS: The CS got in my vehicle and handed me two small baggies of crack cocaine. And we then conducted a second search of the CS. During the search no money or contraband was found on his person.

After Officer Zajicek testified that a field test confirmed that the substance in the baggies was crack cocaine, the examination continued:

PROSECUTOR: Did the CS tell you who was ...

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