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United States v. Alvarez

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
625 F.2d 1196 (1980)


Facts

John Cifarelli, Genaro Cruz, Edward Peterson, and Manuel Alvarez (defendant) were charged with conspiring to import marijuana into the United States. Cifarelli made plans to meet an undercover agent at an airport. Alvarez drove the men to the airport in a truck that was filled with household appliances, including a washer and dryer. The agent asked Cifarelli who Alvarez was, and Cifarelli said that Alvarez would unload a cargo of marijuana from the plane in the United States. The agent asked Alvarez if Cifarelli’s statement was true, and Alvarez nodded his head and smiled, indicating a confirmation. Upon reaching the airport, Alvarez unloaded the appliances from the truck. After the agent spoke with Cruz, who outlined the plans for the arrival and unloading of the marijuana from the plane, the men were arrested and charged with conspiracy to import marijuana. The indictment against Peterson was dismissed, while Cifarelli pleaded guilty. Cruz was convicted in a joint trial with Alvarez. Alvarez appealed. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed Alvarez’s conviction, holding that there was insufficient proof that Alvarez knowingly joined in the agreement to import marijuana. The conviction was then reviewed by an en banc panel of the Fifth Circuit.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Reavley, J.)

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Dissent (Vance, J.)

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