January 8, 2014 4th Circuit published opinion

United States v Shepperson


Shepperson was convicted of racketeering, murder and other crimes. On appeal he argued that the district court should have appointed a second attorney under 18 USC 3005 and excluded a cooperating witness under 18 USC 3432 for failure to disclose. The panel rejected both arguments and affirmed. Under plain error review, the panel held that under 3005, Shepperson was obligated to request a second attorney. As he did not, the district court was under no obligation to bring the issue to his attention much less appoint counsel sua sponte. The panel rejected the 3432 claim under plain error review as the government did not seek the death penalty (thus making the statute inapplicable) and in fact Shepperson received the equivalent notice during the course of the trial and thus suffered no prejudice.

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