Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Friday, January 02, 2009

What's in a Name? [Part 2]

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction and sentence of William Bullock, Jr. under the Armed Career Criminal Act. The case is United States v. Bullock, 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 25355, and, for the moment at least, is posted on the Internet here and here.

Essentially, Bullock, a three-time felony conviction loser, was found to be in possession of 8 rounds of ammunition. His conviction mandates, per 18 U.S.C. Section 924(e), a minimum 15-year sentence. The pertinent quote from Judge Jacobs's opinion is as follows:

"Bullock argues that there was insufficient evidence to establish his constructive possession of the ammunition found in the bedroom dresser drawer and that the government proved no more than that Bullock and his fiancee shared the bedroom and that Bullock had access to the dresser.

Bullock understates the quantum of evidence, which included: (1) that correspondence addressed to Bullock was found in the drawer with the ammunition; (2) that the ammunition was
discovered in a drawer with men's underwear in a dresser with only men's clothing; and (3) that $1,543 cash was found in the drawer, including $30 of pre-recorded buy money given to Bullock a few days earlier. Given this evidence, a 'rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.'"

So what's in a name? Bullock's defense attorney was Bryan E. Rounds, Esq., of the Kingston, NY law firm of Rounds & Rounds. Should the name of one's attorney matter? Theoretically, it shouldn't. But I cannot help but wonder whether the fact that an attorney named Rounds was defending a client accused of possessing rounds of ammunition made some sort of subconscious impact upon the jury.

This isn't the only criminal case where the defense attorney's name might have dropped some subliminal suggestions to the jury. In State v. Smith, 1980 Ohio App. LEXIS 10946 (OhioApp. 1980), the defendant was convicted of felonious assault with firearm. His defense attorney was named Michael T. Gunner.

And the defendant in United States v. Schlesinger, 390 F. Supp. 2d 274, the defendant was convicted of arson. Nat Schlesinger's defense attorney was Douglas T. Burns, Esq.

As for the famous Miranda v. Arizona case, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), where Ernesto Miranda's conviction on a rape charge was vacated (but he was convicted at subsequent retrial), one of the attorneys on the amicus brief (effectively arguing against Ernesto Miranda) was the Attorney General of Wyoming, John F. Raper, AG of Wyoming. 384 U.S. 436 (1966).

And then, there is the matter of Straight v. Dykes , 418 S.E.2d 65, 1992 Ga. LEXIS 354 (Ga. 1992), affirming, without published opinion, some sort of civil dispute.

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  • At 05 January, 2009 02:51, Blogger Me said…

    As one who used to execute search warrants and testify in court regarding what was found where and whose is was, I can tell you that these constructive possession cases are usually pretty easy. They're typically just challenging enough to make you work a bit, but if you know what you're doing, you can make it work even with a pretty liberal/defense-friendly judge.


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