US v. Cion Phillips

Filing 920090401

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UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 08-4692 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee, v. CION M. PHILLIPS, Defendant - Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, at Norfolk. Rebecca Beach Smith, District Judge. (2:07-cr-00233-RBS-TEM-2) Submitted: March 6, 2009 Decided: April 1, 2009 Before MICHAEL, MOTZ, and KING, Circuit Judges. Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion. Michael S. Nachmanoff, Federal Public Defender, Richard Colgan, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Norfolk, Virginia, for Appellant. Dana J. Boente, Acting United States Attorney, D. Monique Broadnax, Special Assistant United States Attorney, Norfolk, Virginia, for Appellee. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. PER CURIAM: Cion M. Phillips appeals his convictions for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C. 846 (2006), and two counts of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1) (2006). Phillips challenges the sufficiency of the evidence and the district court's refusal to allow him to introduce at trial evidence of his codefendants' flight. Finding no error, we affirm. Phillips challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to support his convictions for conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute marijuana. court's denial of a Fed. R. We review de novo a district Crim. P. 29 motion. United States v. Reid, 523 F.3d 310, 317 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 129 S. Ct. 663 (2008). A defendant challenging the sufficiency of United States v. Beidler, The verdict of a jury must in the is light supported most by the evidence faces a heavy burden. 110 F.3d 1064, 1067 (4th Cir. 1997). be sustained to "if, the viewing the evidence the favorable prosecution, verdict substantial evidence." 216 (4th Cir. 2006) United States v. Smith, 451 F.3d 209, (citations omitted). "[S]ubstantial evidence [i]s evidence that a reasonable finder of fact could accept as adequate and sufficient to support a conclusion of a defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." 2 Id. Furthermore, "[t]he jury, not the reviewing court, weighs the credibility of the evidence and resolves any conflicts in the evidence presented." Beidler, 110 F.3d at 1067 (internal quotation marks "Reversal for insufficient evidence is and citation omitted). reserved for the rare case where the prosecution's failure is clear." Id. (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). With these standards in mind, we have thoroughly reviewed the trial transcript. evidence Burgos, supports 94 F.3d the 849, jury's 857-58, Our review convinces us that the verdict. 873 (4th See Cir. United 1996) States (en v. banc) (discussing elements of offenses). We therefore find that the district court did not err in denying Phillips' Rule 29 motion. Phillips also challenges the district court's refusal to allow him to introduce at trial evidence of his codefendants' flight. The district court relied on United States v. Bollin, In be 264 F.3d 391 (4th Cir. 2001), in excluding the evidence. Bollin, we held that, while a codefendant's flight may relevant to show the guilt of the codefendant, it does not tend to prove the innocence of the defendant "where . . . there can be more than one guilty party." Id. at 413. In light of Bollin, we conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding this evidence. Hedgepeth, 418 F.3d 411, 418-19 (4th See United States v. Cir. 2005) (stating standard of review). 3 Accordingly, dispense with oral we affirm Phillips' the convictions. facts and We legal argument because contentions are adequately presented in the materials before the court and argument would not aid the decisional process. AFFIRMED 4

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