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Criminal Law Keyed to Gershowitz
State v. Samuel Maduro
Citation:174 Vt. 302, 816 A.2d 432.
The state alleged that the defendant provided crack cocaine, cash, and scales to a female juvenile, K.M., in order to sell. He was charged with conspiracy to sell cocaine.
At trial, the court allowed Keith Merrow to testify, who stated that that defendant also provided him with powder and crack cocaine at their common workplace to sell. Merrow found customers, found out how much of the drug they wanted, and then procured it from defendant. He would then receive a percentage of the sale. He also testified that he remembered seeing a young girl at defendant’s apartment on some of the occasions when he would visit to pick up drugs. He also testified, however, that the young girl did not participate in any of his transactions, did not provide him with drugs or money, and was never a witness to the transfers from defendant.
At the close of trial, the court instructed the jury that it could consider Merrow’s testimony as direct evidence of the conspiracy charge involving K.M. It also added, however, that, if the jury determined that Merrow’s testimony was related to a separate uncharged conspiracy, it could still consider the evidence as proof of the opportunity, intent, preparation for, and plan to commit the crimes of which the defendant is charged. He was found guilty.
The defendant appealed, arguing that the testimony was not direct evidence of the charged conspiracy, but was instead evidence of a separate uncharged conspiracy. In other words, he argued that the trial court erroneously determined that the Merrow testimony was relevant with respect to the charged conspiracy.
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