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United States v. Raymundi-Hernandez, No. 16-2490 (1st Cir. 2020)

The First Circuit vacated Defendants’ convictions for their roles in an expansive drug-trafficking conspiracy, holding that the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions but the trial was rendered unfair due to repeated, one-sided intercessions by the trial judge.

The primary challenge of all four defendants on appeal was that they were entitled to a new trial because, throughout the eleven-day jury trial, the district court judge interjected during witness testimony in a manner that signaled an anti-defense bias to the jury and caused Defendants prejudice. The First Circuit agreed, holding that the trial judge’s perceptible partiality impaired the integrity and fairness of the trial and that this judicial misconduct infringed upon all Defendants’ right to a fair trial.

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