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United States v. Williams

United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

May 1, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, APPELLEE
v.
RONALD WILLIAMS, APPELLANT

Argued November 25, 2014

Page 799

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. (No. 1:12-cr-00022-1).

Jonathan S. Zucker, appointed by the court, argued the cause and filed the briefs for appellant.

Stephen F. Rickard, Assistant U.S. Attorney, argued the cause for appellee. With him on the brief were Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. Attorney, and Elizabeth Trosman, Assistant U.S. Attorney.

Before: ROGERS, KAVANAUGH, and PILLARD, Circuit Judges. OPINION filed by Circuit Judge KAVANAUGH.

OPINION

Page 800

Kavanaugh, Circuit Judge

A jury convicted Ronald Williams of two drug possession offenses and one drug conspiracy offense. On appeal, Williams challenges his conspiracy conviction on sufficiency of the evidence grounds. He also contends that the District Court erred at trial by excluding certain evidence. Finally, he raises an ineffective assistance of trial counsel claim. We affirm the judgment of the District Court except that, consistent with this Court's ordinary practice in these circumstances, we remand the case so that the District Court may address Williams's claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel in the first instance.

I

On September 16, 2011, an undercover police officer stationed himself outside Maurice Williams's house. The officer observed Maurice's brother, Ronald Williams, sitting on the front porch of the house.

As the officer watched, Ronald engaged in a series of apparent drug transactions. Three men approached the house, one after the other. Ronald ushered each man inside for a brief visit. After the men left the house, police followed them and recovered small bags of cocaine from two of them. The third man swallowed what appeared to be two small bags of cocaine.

The police continued their investigation. On October 21, 2011, an officer saw Maurice -- whom the officer initially mistook for a drug buyer -- exit his house and drive away. After stopping and searching Maurice's car, the officer found a substantial quantity of cocaine, marijuana, and cash. Based ...


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