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United States v. Copelin

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
996 F.2d 379 (D.C. Cir. 1993)


Facts

Copelin (defendant) was charged with distribution of cocaine. Copelin claimed that another man he was with was actually the one who had been selling the cocaine. During cross examination of Copelin, he was asked if he had actually seen the other man selling the cocaine. When Copelin said that he had not seen any drugs change hands, the prosecution asked him if he had ever seen any drugs in his life. He replied that he had only seen drugs on television. To impeach Copelin’s testimony on this issue, the prosecution sought to introduce into evidence the fact that Copelin had tested positive for cocaine multiple times so must have seen it outside of television. The trial court allowed admission of the evidence, but did not give the jury a limiting instruction on its use. Copelin was convicted and appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Mikva, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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