United States v. Scott

284 F.3d 758 (2002)

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United States v. Scott

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
284 F.3d 758 (2002)

Facts

Robert Scott (defendant) was charged with conspiracy to possess marijuana and cocaine with intent to distribute. Shawn Jones testified as a witness for the prosecution (plaintiff) before the grand jury. A mistrial was declared at Scott’s first trial. At Scott’s second trial, Jones refused to testify before the grand jury or at the trial. The trial judge declared Jones to be unavailable as a witness. The prosecution (plaintiff) sought to introduce Jones’s initial grand-jury testimony, arguing that Scott had procured Jones’s unavailability, rendering the testimony admissible under Federal Rule of Evidence 804(b)(6). In support of this claim, the prosecution called Billy Chance as a witness. Chance testified that Scott had told him that Jones “better not testify if he knew what was good for him.” Chance also testified that he saw Scott talking quietly to Jones on multiple occasions prior to Jones’s refusal to testify. According to Chance, prior to one such occasion, Scott had told Chance that Scott was going to go make sure that Jones would not testify. The trial court agreed that Scott had procured Jones’s unavailability and admitted Jones’s grand-jury testimony over Scott’s objection. Scott was convicted, and he appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Evans, J.)

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