Supreme court reverses conviction for distribution of cocaine

Supreme court reverses conviction for distribution of cocaine

The Louisiana Supreme Court reversed the conviction of Andrew Harper of Marrero, when the high court ruled that the trial court unfairly excluded information that was helpful to the defense. Harper’s girlfiend testified that Harper could not have been sold drugs to an undercover officer on the night in question because a murder took place just down the street. The noise casused them to leave the area and spend the night in Metairie.

Assistant DA Allan Green cross-examined the girlfriend with the use of a newspaper story showing that the murder took place the following morning at 11:00 am , so she couldn’t be telling the truth. Defense attorney Martin Regan objected to the hearsay evidence, but the trial judge permitted the line of questioning.

Additionally, Regan moved for a copy of the incident report to show that the newspaper was wrong about the time of the murder, but the trial judge denied his request. The report later showed that the newspaper was wrong and that Harper’s girlfiend was correct about the time of the nearby shooting. Despite the evidence, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeal upheld the conviction. (State v Andrew Harper, 625 So. 2d 534)

In a brief prepared by attorneys Thomas Calogero and Kevin Boshea, they argued that the trial judge mistakenly permitted the hearsay comments of the newspaper article, and should have permitted the defense the time to review the incident report of the shooting, which contradicted the Times Picayune’s story. The Supreme Court reversed Harper’s conviction.

(Justice Calogero did not particpate in the decision, which was written by Justice Walter Marcus. State v Andrew Harper, 646 So 2d 338 (La. 1994)

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