Straw Purchaser Analysis

987 Words 4 Pages
The “straw purchaser” stipulation was a harmless error because it did not affect the outcome of the District Court proceedings. While Kotteakos, as Petitioner may point out, concluded that the proper test was not whether the jury’s decision was correct, but rather the error’s potential effect on the jury’s decision-making, recent interpretations of harmless error analysis suggest a departure from this holding. See Kotteakos v. United States, 68 S.Ct. 1247 (1946). The Court’s analysis in recent years has dealt specifically with the sufficiency of evidence for conviction when the error is removed. See Brecht v. Abrahamson, 113 S.Ct. at 1722 (1993); United States v. Olano, 113 S.Ct. at 1779 (1993); Neder v. United States, 119 S.Ct. at 1833 (1999); …show more content…
Brecht v. Abrahamson, 113 S.Ct. at 1722 (1993). In Brecht, great weight was given to the inconsistent and unconvincing testimony of witnesses in finding that other factors, besides the error, led the jury to convict. Id. Similarly, the testimony of Brittany and Petitioner’s other witnesses were unconvincing and inconsistent. Brittany’s testimony in particular was drawn into question when she was unable to adequately describe even the most basic aspects of her firearm purchase. Tr. 132 at 170. All four officers testified Mr. Brown made motions consistent with removing something from his waistband and placing it underneath the seat of the car. Tr. 132 at 33, 63, 79 – 80, 109 – 10. Upon searching the car, an officer spotted the handle of a firearm underneath the driver’s seat. Tr. 132 at 33 – 4. Like Brecht, “circumstantial evidence . . . pointed to petitioner’s guilt.” Brecht, 113 S.Ct. at 1722. The evidence presented to the jury was enough to convict Mr. Brown of both actual and constructive possession. The jury, through circumstantial and direct evidence, and without the use of the stipulation, found that Petitioner had possession over the firearm when he hastily placed it underneath the seat upon noticing the approaching

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