Thursday, December 5, 2013

United States v. Gould case brief

United States v. Gould case brief summary
536 F.2d 216 (1976)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendants challenged their convictions in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa for conspiring to import and for importing cocaine from South America into the United States in violation of the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act, 21 U.S.C.S. § 951 et seq. (1970).

CASE FACTS
Defendants appealed convictions of importing cocaine into the United States in violation of the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act, 21 U.S.C.S. § 951 et seq. (1970), contending that the trial court improperly took judicial notice that cocaine was a schedule II controlled substance, impermissibly instructed the jury to accept this fact as conclusive, and erred in refusing to strike the direct testimony of a government witness who invoked his right against self-incrimination during cross-examination.

DISCUSSION

  • In affirming the trial court judgment, the court noted that the trial court could take judicial notice of established facts and that its instructing the jury to accept as conclusive that cocaine was a schedule II controlled substance was not error because it was not adjudicative of defendants' guilt. Further, the government witness invoked his U.S. Constitutional Amendment V privilege on a collateral matter, resulting in no prejudice to defendant.

CONCLUSION
Defendants' convictions were affirmed as the court properly took judicial notice of legislative facts or established truths which were not adjudicative of defendants' guilt, and where the only matters about which defendants were precluded from questioning a government witness involved the witness' prior criminal activities in which defendants were uninvolved.


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