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Name: U.S. v. Howell
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 10/31/2000
Subsequent History: None
Summary

The trial court properly denied a motion for mistrial where prosecutors discovered “glaring mistakes” in a police report but did not promptly disclose the mistakes to the defense. The police reports in question erroneously indicated that money was seized from Howell’s traveling companion, Mosely, when, in fact, the money was seized from defendant Howell. The defense relied on the mistaken report to base its defense that Mosely, not Howell, was transporting drugs. This was not, however, a violation of Brady v. Maryland (1963) 373 U.S. 83, because even if the mistakes in the reports should have been disclosed, Howell was not sufficiently prejudiced to warrant a mistrial. The government presented substantial evidence independent of the location of the money to support the guilty verdict. Howell’s confession was introduced and corroborated by the testimony of Mosely. Further, defense counsel effectively cross-examined the officers about the inconsistencies in their trial testimony and their reports. There was no reasonable probability that the nondisclosed evidence would have produced a different verdict. Other federal issues are not summarized here.