Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Drugs don't grow on trees
In United States v. Brown, the Eleventh Circuit (Carnes, Fay, and 9th Circuit visitor Alarcon) analyzed a drug conspiracy centered around local marketplaces called "trees." In rejecting a severance argument, the Court found that Brown had forfeited that argument by failing to raise it before the district court. The Court next examined Brown's conspiracy conviction, set forth the law in the Eleventh Circuit surrounding conspiracies, and stressed that conspirators need not know each other but must only facilitate the conspiracy. Third, the Court found that Brown's convictions six years before the conspiracy charged in the indictment were not too remote for 404(b) purposes. The Court also upheld Brown's 924(c) conviction. As for co-defendant Hall, the Court rejected his material variance argument and affirmed on authentication grounds the district court's decision allowing the admission of a copy of a tape of a controlled buy.