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US v. Bell, 09-3908

By FindLaw Staff on October 20, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Conviction and sentence of defendant for distributing cocaine base affirmed

US v. Bell, 09-3908, concerned a challenge to the district court's imposition of a 292-month sentence, revocation of defendant's previous term of supervised release and imposition of an additional 60-month sentence for violating the conditions of his supervised release for committing another crime, in a prosecution of a defendant for distributing more than five grams of cocaine base.

In affirming, the court held that defendant's evidentiary objections to a letter and to a rebuttal witness's testimony cannot overcome the highly deferential standards of review applied to evidentiary determinations.  Similarly, defendant's contention that the government improperly employed propensity arguments during its closing and rebuttal arguments is unable to clear the high bar of plain error review.  Thus, the merits of defendant's request to overturn the revocation of his supervised release need not be considered independently, as that claim could only succeed if his conviction were rendered invalid.  Lastly, the court affirmed defendant's sentence as the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (FSA) does not apply to his case as the FSA is not retroactive.

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