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Dockery v. United States

May 27, 2004

JASPER L. DOCKERY, APPELLANT,
v.
UNITED STATES, APPELLEE.



Appeals from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (F-536-96) (Hon. Mary Ellen Abrecht, Trial Judge)

Before Steadman, Reid, and Glickman, Associate Judges.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reid, Associate Judge

Argued December 20, 2002

After a jury trial, appellant Jasper L. Dockery was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder while armed (of James Ivy), in violation of D.C. Code §§ 22-2401, -3202 (1996)*fn1; six counts of assault with intent to kill while armed, in violation of §§ 22-501, -3202;*fn2 two counts of possessing a firearm during a crime of violence ("PFCV"), in violation of § 22-3204 (b)*fn3 and unlawful possession of ammunition, in violation of § 6-2361 (3).*fn4 Mr. Dockery contends, in part, that the trial court erred by (1) admitting certain evidence discovered when the police executed an arrest and a search warrant in May and August 1995 respectively; (2) allowing other crimes evidence to be admitted in violation of Drew v. United States, 118 U.S. App. D.C. 11, 331 F.2d 85 (1964), and Johnson v. United States, 683 A.2d 1087 (D.C. 1996) (en banc); (3) precluding the defense from impeaching and exploring the motives of a government witness; and (4) denying his request for a continuance. *fn5 Unpersuaded by Mr. Dockery's arguments, we affirm the trial court's judgment of convictions, but remand the case for resentencing in light of Keels v. United States, 785 A.2d 672 (D.C. 2001).

FACTUAL SUMMARY

The government presented evidence showing that as early as summer of 1989, Mr. Dockery was the leader of a drug organization that distributed crack cocaine in the 1600 block of E Street, N.E. At least two members of his organization, Harry Louis Williams*fn6 and Corey Bullock, sold drugs on his behalf from an apartment located at 1620 E Street. During the spring of 1995, Mr. Dockery and his organization were competing with members of the E Street Crew, another drug organization, for business near 1600 E Street.

Around 11:30 p.m. on April 14, 1995, Mr. Dockery, Mr. Williams, and two other members of Mr. Dockery's organization, Glenn Thompson and Denise Sutton, were in the 1620 E Street apartment when gunshots were fired at them from the street level. Mr. Dockery and Mr. Williams returned fire, with both men using their own handguns. No one in the apartment was injured. Police officers eventually recovered 62 shell casings from 9 and 10-millimeter ammunition in the area of the shooting.

Later on Mr. Dockery, Mr. Williams, and Ms. Sutton met with Mr. Bullock at 4223 Gault Place, N.E. Mr. Dockery explained that he believed members of the E Street Crew were behind the shooting and during the conversation revealed a 10-millimeter handgun he was carrying. Mr. Dockery explained to his members that he wanted to "kill" and "get rid of" the E Street Crew persons who were responsible for the shots fired into the 1620 E Street apartment.

A little more than a month after the April 14, 1995 incident, the police were searching for Mr. Bullock. They acted upon information received indicating that Mr. Dockery, Mr. Bullock, and Christopher Trench were living at 4165 Southern Avenue in Capitol Heights, Maryland. Officer Denise M. Calhoun explained that she initially went to an address at "64th Avenue" in Riverdale, Maryland, which she believed to be Mr. Bullock's address. She stated:

I interviewed some of the neighbors and they told me he was moving out. . . . [and when I returned on May 23, 1995] you could see from the outside window [that] Mr. Bullock was in the process of moving out. . . . I was told [by sources] that if he wasn't [at the Riverdale address] he would be with Mr. Dockery. So I had Mr. Dockery's address and that is where I responded to, [4165 Southern Avenue]. I interviewed people that worked [at the apartment complex including] . . . the resident manager and . . . a worker. . . . The lease was under [the names of] Mr. Dockery and Christopher Trench . . . . [A]fter I went out and started to do a little more investigating, I met with one of the other workers[, showed him a picture of Mr. Bullock] and . . . [he said] . . . Mr. Dockery was living there, and . . . Cory Bullock was living there as well. . . . The source told me he had seen that gentleman I was looking for, Mr. Bullock, the night before with Mr. Dockery, leaving the building, driving off. . . . [He] told me what kind of car to look out for and early [on the morning of May 24th] I looked out and the car was there [at Mr. Dockery's address].

The police entered into the Southern Avenue residence on May 24, 1995, in an attempt to arrest him on a charge of assault with intent to kill. Mr. Dockery was inside, but Mr. Bullock was not there. While the police were inside the premises, they saw a shotgun; and they asked Mr. Dockery about wooden boards that were attached to a sliding glass window. Mr. Dockery explained that the boards were for his protection because someone had tried to shoot him. Mr. Bullock returned to the Southern Avenue premises around four hours later and was arrested.

On July 27, 1995, another shooting took place. Earlier that day Mr. Dockery told Mr. Williams that he was tired of being shot at by members of the E Street Crew. Mr. Dockery offered to pay $5,000 for one of the members of his organization to kill rival members of the E Street Crew. He instructed Mr. Williams and three other members of his organization to drive his white Dodge Caravan, take some weapons, hide in a vacant apartment in a building near 1620 E Street, and shoot at two members of their rival drug organization.

After they entered the vacant apartment, Mr. Williams and those who accompanied him learned that Mr. Ivy and other members of the E Street Crew were exiting a van. The men left the apartment and began firing at those who were getting out of the van. Mr. Ivy and at least one other E Street Crew member were hit by gun fire; Mr. Ivy died later. After the shooting, Mr. Williams and those who accompanied him fled the area, leaving behind in the apartment some of the weapons they used and ammunition from a 10-millimeter shotgun. Police later found the weapons and ammunition and determined that the ammunition from the July 27th shooting was the same type used in the April 14th shooting.

On August 10, 1995, police officers executed a search warrant at the Southern Avenue residence of Mr. Dockery. They recovered shotgun shells and casings that matched those found at the scene of the July 27th shooting. They also saw that the sliding door, which had previously been covered with wooden boards, now had steel plates on the inside. Id. Pertinent paragraphs of the affidavit incorporated in the search warrant stated:

[The] affiant submits that based on the facts outlined in this affidavit, there is probable cause to believe that JASPER LLOYD DOCKERY, and others known and unknown to me have unlawfully entered into, confederated, conspired, and agreed to acts which are in violation of the federal drug laws, to wit: the unlawful distribution of a controlled substance.

As a result of my personal participation in this investigation and reports made to me by other Special Agents of the FBI and Investigators of the Metropolitan Police Department, I am familiar with the circumstances of the offenses described in this affidavit. On the basis of this familiarity, I allege that the facts contained in the affidavit reveal a major conspiracy and continuing criminal enterprise being conducted by DOCKERY and his associates to distribute cocaine in the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and elsewhere.

On July 8, 1994 [a source] gave detailed information regarding Jasper Dockery and his drug organization. [The source] stated that Dockery was the leader of a crack cocaine distribution organization that operated in various locations in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

[The source] provided information describing Dockery's travels to New York to pick up cocaine to be sold by himself and members of his organization in the Washington, D.C. area.

. . . [The source] stated that upon his return to the Washington, D.C. area, Dockery would immediately take the cocaine to 4165 Southern Avenue, ...


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