Sunday, December 22, 2013

United States v. Jaramillo-Suarez case brief

United States v. Jaramillo-Suarez case brief summary
950 F.2d 1378 (9th Cir. 1991)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendant appealed judgment of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, convicting him for conspiracy, in violation of 21 U.S.C.S. § 846, and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, in violation of 21 U.S.C.S. § 841(a)(1).

CASE FACTS
Law enforcement agents executed search warrants for apartments frequented by defendant, seizing drugs, cash, a pay/owe sheet and other evidence. Nine days later, pursuant to a traffic stop, a vehicular search revealed a pager hidden next to defendant. All evidence was admitted at trial and defendant was convicted for conspiracy and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

DISCUSSION

  • On appeal, defendant claimed procedural and evidentiary error, alleging, inter alia, that the pay/owe sheet and the pager were inadmissible, the jury instruction was improper, and that he was denied disclosure of an informant's identity. 
  • The court affirmed, holding that the pay/owe sheet was admissible as circumstantial evidence that the apartment was being used for drug trafficking. 
  • The court held that the pager was admissible as evidence of defendant's consciousness of guilt. 
  • Finally, the jury instruction was not reversible error, although not the preferred instruction on reasonable doubt.
CONCLUSION
Judgment affirmed, because the pay/owe sheet was admissible as circumstantial evidence drug trafficking, the pager was admissible as evidence of defendant's consciousness of guilt, and the jury instruction was not reversible, although not the instruction preferred by the appellate court.

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