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US v. Henderson, 08-3439

By FindLaw Staff on November 19, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Conviction for murdering witnesses who testified in defenant's bank robbery trial

US  v. Henderson, 08-3439, concerned a challenge to a conviction and sentence of defendant for killing two witnesses in retaliation for providing information and testifying against him in a 1981 federal bank robbery prosecution.


In affirming, the court held that: 1) because a witness's statement was not introduced for the truth of the matter asserted and was not, therefore, testimonial hearsay, and because the admission of another witness's statement constituted harmless error, the district court's reliance on the forfeiture-by-wrongdoing doctrine to admit both statements, though erroneous, does not warrant appellate relief; 2) defendant's ineffective assistance of counsel claim is without merit; 3) defendant has not carried his burden of demonstrating that the district court committed plain error or that the prosecution engaged in any misconduct that affected his substantial rights and the fairness of the trial; 3) admission of the "other bad acts" evidence was not Rule 404(b) evidence and its admission was not improper; 4) a review of the separate hearing record clearly demonstrates that the district court did not abuse its discretion in its handling of the misunderstanding between defendant and his counsel; 5) defendant's challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence is meritless; 6) district court did not abuse its discretion by refusing to give the requested instruction; 7) defendant's claim that his Sixth Amendment rights were violated because he was not present during a critical stage of the trial is rejected; and 8) district court committed no error, much less plain error, in admitting prison telephone recordings.

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