United States v Ibarra-Diaz

Ibarra-Diaz appealed his possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute conviction. The panel affirmed. Applying plain error review, the panel held that Ibarra-Diaz’s confrontation rights were not violated when certain statements were admitted because, in all but one instance, the testimony either did not actually contain any statements, were stricken from the record or were offered for not hearsay purposes and the one instance where hearsay evidence was admitted, there was no harm as the evidence of guilt was overwhelming. The panel held that testimony about what the investigating detective was feeling at the time of the buy-bust operation was irrelevant and prejudicial. However, it held there was no clear error as Ibarra-Diaz failed to point to any precedent requiring the testimony to be excluded and the person described as dangerous was a third party not Ibarra-Diaz. The panel held Ibarra-Diaz’s duplicitous indictment argument was waived as there was no pretrial objection filed and no objection during trial when Ibarra-Diaz argued the duplicity became apparent. The panel held there was sufficient evidence to sustain the conviction both because Ibarra-Diaz field to challenge his conviction as a principal and there was evidence Ibarra-Diaz was present when the detective and Ibarra-Diaz’s girlfriend set up the buy, was in the car at the buy-bust site, told the detective that a third party would bring the drugs, that Ibarra-Diaz directed the activities of his girlfriend and the third party during the buy-bust and that he fled upon learning the detective was a police officer.

United States v Hill

Hill appealed the denial of his motion to suppress arguing a drug agent’s actions of removing his unchecked luggage from a common area and rolling it in a train compartment looking for its owner was an illegal seizure. The panel agreed and reversed. It held that Hill retained possessory interests in the luggage as he did not check it, that taking the bag was beyond the interference anticipated by a reasonable person leaving the bag in the common area and thus the agent’s actions constituted a seizure. As there was no justification for the seizure, the drugs found in the bag had to be suppressed.