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8th Circuit decides N.D. case Friday, August 19, 2022

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has issued an opinion in a North Dakota case.

In United States v. Watley the courth held that in this prosecution for distributing heroin, the district court did not err in admitting evidence that heroin defendant distributed resulted in an overdose and a death; the evidence showed the drug distributed was heroin and the evidence of the death provided context to the government's case and explained why the person who died could not testify regarding her purchase of heroin from defendant; the evidence of the death was not unduly prejudicial; evidence that the heroin defendant sold a third person was transferred to the person who overdosed was properly admitted under Rule 401(a); the evidence was sufficient to support defendant's convictions; the district court did not err in imposing an upward departure for the death of defendant's customer under Guidelines 5K2.1 as the district court's finding that the heroin played a central part in the death was sufficient to satisfy the section; no error in imposing a Guidelines Sec. 5K2.2 upward departure based on the overdose; nor error in applying a four-level upward variance for distribution of additional quantities of other drugs; the court's findings regarding the potency of the heroin were not clearly erroneous.

Read the court's opinion at: