Thursday, December 5, 2013

United States v. Pool case brief

United States v. Pool case brief summary
660 F.2d 547 (1981)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Eight appellants sought review of their convictions by a jury of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. All appellants were convicted of conspiracy to import marijuana under 21 U.S.C.S. § 963, and some were also convicted of conspiring to possess marijuana with intent to distribute under 21 U.S.C.S. § 846 and of using a telephone to facilitate commission of a Title 21 violation under 21 U.S.C.S. § 843(b).

CASE FACTS
A jury found that eight appellants participated in a scheme to import marijuana into the United States. A number of those appellants were also convicted of using a telephone to facilitate the commission of a Title 21 violation under 21 U.S.C.S. § 843(b). At trial, an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration agent testified that he received a telephone call from a person who identified himself as one of the coconspirators by using a nickname he had used throughout the investigation. The caller told the agent that he was to obtain a boat. Based on that conversation alone, the agent identified appellant caller as the person with whom he had spoken. The agent also testified that he had never met the caller, and that the conversation was not recorded.

DISCUSSION

  • In reversing the caller's conviction for facilitating a conspiracy through use of a telephone, the court held that the agent's identification was inadmissible because it was not authenticated as required by Fed. R. Evid. 901. 
  • The court held that a telephone call out of the blue from one who identified himself as a conspirator was not, in itself, sufficient authentication of the call as in fact coming from the conspirator.

CONCLUSION
The court affirmed the district court jury's verdict that convicted all eight appellants of conspiracy to import marijuana. The court reversed one conviction for using a telephone to facilitate commission of a Title 21 violation because of insufficient evidence and affirmed each of the remaining verdicts and sentencing considerations.

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