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Defendant's Drug and Firearm Conviction and Sentence Upheld

By FindLaw Staff on February 19, 2010 3:41 PM

In US v. Russell, No. 07-2354, the Sixth Circuit addressed defendant's contention that district court committed several errors in his conviction and sentence for drug and firearm related offenses.

Ultimately, the court rejected all of defendant's claims as meritless.  In particular, the court rejected defendant's claim of implied juror bias as he failed to demonstrate the bias under any standard of review.  Moreover, although one of the jurors was a paralegal at a tribal prosecutor's office, there are no facts in the record to suggest that the juror's positions created the sort of exceptional circumstance which would raise concerns. 

In affirming the conviction, the court further held that district court properly conveyed a reasonable interpretation of section 856 and included a definition of "purpose" that has been adopted by a majority of circuits to have reached the issue of maintaining a premise for a drug-related purpose.

Defendant's challenges to his 684-month sentence also fell short as there was no clear error with regard to the district court's determination of the amount of crack cocaine for which defendant was responsible.

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