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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Jimenez was charged, along with her boyfriend Juan M. Rodriguez in a two-count indictment with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more, but less than five kilograms, of cocaine and with aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute the aforementioned amount of cocaine. After uniformed officers knocked on her door and identified themselves as police, they heard someone running toward the back of the house. When the officers forced entry into the house, they saw Jimenez running toward the kitchen at the back of the house and Rodriguez lying on a couch in the front room. After she was Mirandized, Jimenez directed the officers to cocaine wrapped in aluminum foil in and under the stove in the kitchen, but the officers discovered a total of 4,450.65 grams, or 9.79 pounds, of cocaine throughout the house. At trial, Jimenez testified that she was a crack cocaine user but that Rodriguez, who was staying with her at the house, was a drug dealer and that all of the drugs stashed throughout the house belonged to him. She testified that she would leave when Rodriguez was cutting and packaging the cocaine. She denied having any role in producing or selling the drugs. After hearing the testimony, the jury found Jimenez guilty on both counts. The district court sentenced Jimenez to 168 months of imprisonment and five years of supervised release, to be served concurrently. Jimenez filed a timely notice of appeal. Over Jimenez’s objection at trial, the district court prohibited Jimenez from asking government witness Valentine Lopez, a San Antonio Police Department Narcotics Unit officer, where specifically he was located when he observed Jimenez selling drugs. Based on his observations, Lopez obtained a search warrant for Jimenez’s house. Jimenez argued that the district court violated her Sixth Amendment right to confront and cross-examine witnesses by not allowing her to ask Lopez where specifically he was located when he allegedly observed Jimenez selling drugs while on the front porch of her home. Jimenez argued that because her cross-examination was limited by the district court, she could not test whether Lopez was in a position to see clearly the alleged drug transactions, whether there were any obstructions that impeded his view or whether he fabricated his testimony. She contended that to assume, as the district court did, that Lopez would testify truthfully that he had an unobstructed view is to ignore the purpose of the confrontation clause. Finally, Jimenez argued that the denial of her right to test Lopez’s credibility was not harmless error. HOLDING:The court vacated Jimenez’s conviction and remanded for further proceedings consistent with its opinion. The court held that Jimenez’s Sixth Amendment right to effectively cross-examine Lopez was violated. Specifically, the jury was not given an opportunity to form a thorough opinion regarding Lopez’s motive or credibility. Accordingly, Jimenez was prohibited from “expos[ing] to the jury the facts from which jurors, as the sole triers of fact and credibility, could appropriately draw inferences relating to the reliability of the witness.” The court then held that the error was not harmless. “[W]e hold that there is a reasonable possibility that the limitations placed on Lopez’s testimony might have contributed to Jimenez’s convictions, and we decline to interpret any adverse influence on the jury as harmless. Jimenez’s constitutional right to put on an effective defense and confront those who testify against her outweigh the arguments made by the Government. The scales simply do not tip in favor of the Government on the facts before us. Thus, we hold that the violation of Jimenez’s Confrontation Clause right was not harmless error.” OPINION:Stewart, J.; Barksdale, Stewart, and Clement, J.J.

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