Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Court Affirms Pro Se Drug Conviction

US v. Galloway: Galloway was implicated as part of a drug investigation that began in San Diego, but eventually reached Galloway in Baltimore.  He was convicted of conspiracy to distribute heroin, based largely on evidence gained from wiretaps of his cell phones, as well as the expert testimony of two investigators (one from San Diego, the other from Baltimore) about the nature of the drug operation.  Galloway represented himself at trial, after firing two prior attorneys.  He was sentenced to 292 months in prison.

On appeal, the Fourth Circuit affirmed Galloway's conviction (he did not challenge his sentence).  The court first rejected Galloway's claim of ineffective assistance of counsel (of his initial, retained counsel, fired well before trial), holding that he could not conclusively prove either ineffectiveness or prejudice, noting that Galloway's second counsel had an opportunity to make up for any errors of the first and that, ultimately, Galloway represented himself at trial.  Next, the court concluded that the district court had not abused its discretion by limiting Galloway's review of discovery and other documents, limiting his access to the lockup in the courthouse, rather than allowing him to retain documents at the jail.  Third, the court affirmed the district court's decision that there was sufficient evidence to justify one of the wiretaps at issue.  Finally, the court concluded that the district court had not plainly erred by allowing the investigators to testify as experts.

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