Sunday, December 22, 2013

United States v. Amado-Nunez case brief

United States v. Amado-Nunez case brief summary
357 F.3d 119 (1st Cir. 2004)

Defendant was convicted of transporting counterfeit tax stamps in interstate or foreign commerce, but defendant asserted that there was no evidence that the stamps traveled in interstate or foreign commerce and the charging statute, 18 U.S.C.S. § 2314, did not apply to the stamps. Defendant appealed his conviction entered in the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico.

Defendant was discovered with the counterfeit stamps, which purported to evidence territorial licenses for coin-operated machines, at a primary customs screening point at an airport in Puerto Rico. Defendant contended, however, that there was no proof that defendant's point of origin was other than Puerto Rico to establish interstate or foreign travel, and that the stamps were in fact licenses rather than stamps which were not property covered by § 2314.


  • The appellate court first held that, although the government failed to produce any evidence of defendant's point of origin, defendant's travel in foreign commerce was properly established. 
  • The customs inspector who discovered the stamps described her duties as interviewing and searching arriving passengers, and it was common knowledge, not requiring judicial notice, that passengers arriving from a foreign origin go through the customs process while domestic passengers do not. 
  • Also, while portions of § 2314 dealt with stolen property and obtaining property by fraud, the portion of the statute under which defendant was convicted clearly prohibited the transport of counterfeit tax stamps regardless of its status as property.

Defendant's conviction was affirmed.

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