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United States v. Dotson
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
799 F.2d 189 (1986)
Frederick Dotson (defendant) was charged with receiving firearms as a felon. Dotson defended himself on the ground that he was repeatedly threatened after his original release from prison, necessitating his possession of firearms. To this end, Dotson testified and called witnesses describing how and why Dotson received the firearms. To combat Dotson’s necessity defense, the prosecution (plaintiff) called government agents to testify about the truthfulness of Dotson and his witnesses. Cumulatively, the prosecution’s witnesses opined that Dotson and his witnesses did not have good characters for truthfulness. Largely, these opinions were based on the agents’ investigation of Dotson. The agents did not provide a further basis for their opinions. Dotson was convicted, and he appealed, arguing that the government witnesses’ opinion testimony should not have been permitted.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Clark, C.J.)
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