LINCOLN, Neb. — A federal judge said an error he made during a synthetic marijuana case in Lincoln doesn’t justify a new trial.
U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf blamed himself Wednesday for a mistake made in the case of Allen Peithman, who faced a 14-count criminal complaint that alleged he sold synthetic marijuana at his head shop.
The complaint included allegations that Peithman violated his supervised release in an earlier drug case by participating in the alleged synthetic marijuana conspiracy, the Lincoln Journal Star (http://bit.ly/2rvsggP ) reported.
It was only after Peithman was found guilty of six counts in March that Kopf said he realized he mistakenly treated the supervised-release violation as a separate offense, rather than a sentencing enhancement.
Kopf vacated the supervised-release ruling last month.
Defense attorney Kory Reiman argued that the mistake means Peithman should get a new trial on the other charges.
Reiman said his client experienced prejudice because jurors learned information at trial about that otherwise would have been withheld, such as the fact that Peithman was on supervised release.
Kopf said his mistake doesn’t warrant a new trial.
“It’s my fault, not your fault, not the government’s fault,” he said. “But in good conscience, I don’t see how there was any prejudice to your guy at all.”
The judge noted that even after Peithman was given Miranda warnings, Peithman voluntarily made multiple references to being in prison or on supervised release as his reason for not being part of the business.
Peithman’s sentencing is set for June.
Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com