Sunday, December 22, 2013

United States v. Doerr case brief

United States v. Doerr case brief summary
886 F.2d 944 (7th Cir. 1989)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Five appellants sought review of their convictions by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin for conspiring to travel in and use the facilities of interstate commerce to promote, carry on, and distribute the proceeds of unlawful activities involving prostitution in violation of 18 U.S.C.S. § 371, 18 U.S.C.S. § 1952(a)(1), (3). Appellant challenged the admission of a witness' grand jury testimony.

CASE FACTS
Five appellants were convicted of conspiring to travel in and use the facilities of interstate commerce to promote, carry on, and distribute the proceeds of unlawful activities involving prostitution in violation of 18 U.S.C.S. § 371, 18 U.S.C.S. § 1952(a)(1), (3). The two clubs and massage parlor involved were located near the Illinois-Wisconsin border and provided sexual services in private areas. Appellants owner and manager of the businesses were also convicted of conspiring to defraud the government by obstructing the lawful functions of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Proceeds from the businesses were laundered through church bank accounts.

DISCUSSION

  • On appeal, the court affirmed the convictions finding no reversible error. 
  • The court found that the admission of the grand jury testimony of a former employee did not violate Fed. R. Evid. 804(b)(5) or appellants' confrontation rights under U.S. Constitutional Amendment VI. 
  • The record showed that despite an offer of immunity and a contempt finding, the witness refused to testify at trial. 
  • The court found that the witness was unavailable and his testimony had adequate indicia of trustworthiness to overcome hearsay or constitutional concerns.
CONCLUSION
The court affirmed the convictions of five appellants for conspiring to travel in and use the facilities of interstate commerce to promote, carry on, and distribute the proceeds of unlawful activities involving prostitution. Finding no reversible error, the court held that grand jury testimony of a former employee of the massage parlor involved was admissible at trial because he was unavailable and the testimony had indicia of trustworthiness.

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