Sunday, December 22, 2013

United States v. Zenni case brief

United States v. Zenni case brief summary
492 F.Supp. 464 (E.D. Ky. 1980)

CASE SYNOPSIS
In its prosecution of defendants for illegal bookmaking activities, the United States proposed to introduce evidence of implied assertions by certain telephone callers to show that they believed that defendants' premises were used in betting operations by defendants. Defendants objected contending the evidence was hearsay, withinFed. R. Evid. 801(c).

CASE FACTS
While conducting a search of defendant's premises, pursuant to a lawful search warrant which authorized a search for evidence of bookmaking activity, government agents answered the telephone several times. The unknown callers stated directions for the placing of bets on various sporting events. The government proposed to introduce the evidence to show that the callers believed that defendants used the premises in betting operations. Defendants object to the evidence on grounds of hearsay, under Fed. R. Evid. 801.

DISCUSSION

  • After examining the common law and federal evidentiary rules' treatment of hearsay, the court overruled the objection, holding that rule 801(a)(2) removed implied assertions from the definition of statement and from the operation of the hearsay rule. 
  • Consequently, the utterances of the betters telephoning in their bets were nonassertive verbal conduct, offered as relevant for an implied assertion that bets could be placed at the premises being telephoned.

CONCLUSION
Objection overruled; the utterances of betters telephoning in their bets to defendants were nonassertive verbal conduct, offered as relevant for an implied assertion that bets could be placed at the premises being telephoned. As such implied assertions, the evidence was expressly excluded from the operation of the hearsay rule.

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