United States v. Bruce, No. 19-10289 (9th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Circuit affirmed defendant's convictions for conspiracy, attempt to possess with intent to distribute heroin or marijuana, and bribery: public official accepting a bribe. Defendant's charges arose from his involvement in a drug smuggling scheme at the prison where he worked as a correctional officer.
The panel rejected defendant's contention that the district court erred by admitting testimony from another participant in the smuggling scheme who identified defendant from a Facebook photo. The panel concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion by admitting the government's identification evidence where the photo was not so suggestive that it rendered the identification unreliable. The panel also rejected defendant's contention that he is entitled to a new trial because the government violated the discovery obligations imposed by Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). Although the panel agreed with defendant that at least some of the withheld evidence regarding another prison guard's alleged malfeasance was exculpatory, the panel concluded that it was not material within the meaning of Brady. Therefore, the district court did not err by denying defendant's motion for a new trial.