Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Jail Telephone Recordings of Co-conspirators Were Properly Admitted in Meth Conspiracy Prosecution

U.S. v. Alcorta, 2017 WL 1314837 (4/10/17) (Kan.) - Conspiracy conviction affirmed. The evidence was sufficient, including documents, texts, phone calls, and statements that linked Mr. Alcorta to three meth trafficking trips by couriers.

Recorded jailhouse conversations involving coconspirators were properly admitted. There was no Sixth Amendment violation because the conversations were not testimonial statements made for the purpose of creating evidence for the prosecution. The conversations were not inadmissible hearsay; the district court properly made required findings under Rule 801(d)(2)(E) that the government showed that a conspiracy existed, the defendants were participants in it, and the coconspirators' statements were made in the course of, and in furtherance of, the conspiracy. The conspiracy was ongoing, despite coconspirators' arrests. And there was adequate nonhearsay evidence linking Mr. Alcorta to the conspiracy.