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UNITED STATES v. HADRICK

April 2, 1997

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
JONATHAN W. HADRICK



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MCLAUGHLIN

 McLAUGHLIN, J.

 After a jury trial, Defendant, Jonathan W. Hadrick ("Hadrick"), was convicted of possession of a prohibited object in a federal correctional institution in violation of 18 U.S.C. ยง 1791(a)(2) and 2. Presently pending before this Court is Hadrick's motions for a mistrial with prejudice, or in the alternative, a new trial, on the grounds that the Prosecutor misrepresented evidence in her closing argument, improperly vouched for the credibility of a witness and presented false testimony. For the reasons stated below, Defendant's motion is denied.

 I.

 On October 31, 1995, officers at the McKean Federal Correctional Institution at Bradford, Pennsylvania ("FCI McKean") discovered a shank *fn1" hidden in a pillow in Hadrick's cell. An investigation followed during which Hadrick was questioned by Special Agent William Turner ("Turner") of the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Hadrick admitted to Turner that the shank was his and gave Turner a detailed description of how he made it. The shank was later submitted to the FBI laboratory for forensic testing. Six of Hadrick's finger prints were obtained from the adhesive side of the tape.

 At trial, Agent Turner testified he interviewed Hadrick and

 
he [Hardrick] came off with the information that the item found in the pillow case was in fact his. It belonged to him, he had it approximately one month, he had made it himself. And I asked him what he made it from, and he told me it was a handle, the metal handle rod form a mop bucket. And he used sandpaper to sharpen it. And I asked him where he had obtained the white tape that was wrapped around the handle. He said that was obtained from another, he thought he had purchased it from another cell mate, excuse me, not cell mate, inmate, the identity of which he could not recall or didn't want to furnish. Then I asked him what else was on the shank or homemade knife. He said there was a -- a cloth. I asked what that cloth was. He said it was either from a laundry bag string of from a shoe lace that he put on there.

 (Tr. Vol II, Testimony of William Turner 9.)

 The Defense, relying on a false confession theory, argued that the Prosecution could not prove Hadrick possessed the shank. The Defense contended that Hadrick falsely confessed in order to avoid implicating his cell mate, Willie Spain ("Spain"). The Defense also elicited testimony from Agent Turner that he may have shown Hadrick a photograph of the shank during the interview; and argued that Hadrick's knowledge of the shank could have been gleaned from looking at that photograph.

 To persuade the jury to reject this false confession theory, the Prosecutor, in her closing argument, summed up Agent Turner's testimony concerning his interview of Hadrick as follows:

 
And after he was given these rights and after he had executed his waiver, he made a statement to Agent Turner. And it wasn't a brief statement, it was very specific. And he said many things in that statement.
 
First, that the shank was his. The Defendant said to Agent Turner the shank was his.
 
Second, he said that he made the shank.
 
Third, he said he possessed the shank for a month. A month.
 
He also told Agent Turner that the shank was made from a mop bucket handle.
 
And also that he has sharpened the end of the shank with sandpaper.
 
He further told Agent Turner that he made a loop on the handle and he put ...

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