United States v. Acosta

It takes an awful lot to vacate a conviction under the plain-error standard of review. So why did the Sixth Circuit give two admitted drug dealers a new trial? Let’s go to the transcript: “Defendant: I’m just a Catholic believer. Prosecutor: Catholic believer? Do you understand that there is a Commandment that says thou shall not have any god before me? Def: Yes, I understand. Pros: But yet you prayed to the idol for drug traffickers [Malverde] for protection?” Later, in closing: “Pros: I wonder how many prayers he has said to Malverde before he walked into the courtroom yesterday. I wonder if what’s going through his mind this morning was, I’m going to say another prayer for protection from the jurors of Central Kentucky.”

Tags: 2019, Due Process, Professional Responsibility, Sixth Circuit

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