FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF OTERO COUNTY Jerry H. Ritter Jr.,
H. Balderas, Attorney General Santa Fe, NM Elizabeth Ashton,
Assistant Attorney General Albuquerque, NM for Appellee
Bennett J. Baur, Chief Public Defender Sergio Viscoli,
Appellate Defender Matthew J. O'Gorman, Assistant
Appellate Defender David Henderson, Assistant Appellate
Defender Santa Fe, NM for Appellant
STEPHEN G. FRENCH, Judge
A jury convicted Defendant Anthony Patterson of two counts of
trafficking oxycodone by distribution, contrary to NMSA 1978,
Section 30-31-20(A)(2), (B)(1) (2006). Defendant argues that
the district court committed reversible error by denying him
the opportunity to: (1) cross-examine an undercover narcotics
enforcement agent (Undercover Agent), about a prior instance
of untruthfulness and about a conversation between Undercover
Agent and a confidential informant; and (2) present an
entrapment defense. Defendant also argues that the district
court's order to return the computer projector he
received as payment in one of the drug transactions was
improper. We agree with Defendant that the district court
improperly limited Defendant's cross-examination,
contrary to Rule 11-608 NMRA. Accordingly, we reverse
Defendant's convictions. We leave Defendant's other
We focus our background discussion on the subset of facts
relevant to the issue we reach in this opinion. Defendant was
arrested in connection with two sales of narcotic pills. The
transactions took place principally between Defendant,
Undercover Agent, and a confidential informant.
At trial, Undercover Agent testified that on October 26,
2011, Defendant exchanged five oxycodone pills for a backpack
with a computer projector in it and, on November 18, 2011,
sold five oxycodone pills. The confidential informant did not
On cross-examination of Undercover Agent, Defendant sought to
inquire about an occasion that the Undercover Agent
purportedly admitted in court to misrepresentation in a
Counsel: [R]egarding these reports that you make. And
you're saying that they're accurate except in this
case you said there may be some typos on these two reports,
is that correct?
Undercover Agent: That's correct.
Counsel: Okay. Now, were you involved with [the confidential
informant] on [another case]?
Undercover Agent: I was, yes.
Counsel: And actually, that charge went federal [be]cause
there was a ...