Brief Fact Summary. The Hogan brothers were arrested and charged with importing marijuana and possession with intent to distribute. Their pilot, Mark Carpenter (“Mr. Carpenter”), was arrested in Mexico and taken into custody in Mexico. A few days after Carpenter’s arrest, he gave statements to a Drug Enforcement Agency (“DEA”) official that implicated the Hogan brothers and himself in a conspiracy to import drugs.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A witness cannot be called to testify if the party calling him knows he will testify to something that will have to be impeached.
Issue. Did the trial court err in allowing testimony from a witness who was called to testify when the party calling him knew he would testify to something that would have to be impeached?
Held. It was plain error for the court to allow testimony from Mr. Carpenter, when the government called Mr. Carpenter solely to present testimony to the jury under the guise of impeachment.
Discussion. The Hogan brothers received a new trial because the government used Mr. Carpenter’s testimony for the primary purpose of introducing evidence which would otherwise be admissible. The trial court could have avoided this error by giving the jury a precautionary instruction.