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United States v. Amaya

828 F.3d 518 (2016)

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United States v. Amaya

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

828 F.3d 518 (2016)

Facts

Juan Amaya (defendant) was charged with various drug-related crimes, including possessing a gun in furtherance of cocaine distribution. Amaya was a leader of the Latin Kings, a street gang whose activities involved drug dealing. Amaya sold cocaine to Sergeant Sean Koren, an undercover law-enforcement agent posing as a Latin King. Koren was accompanied by a confidential informant who was a Latin King. The sale took place in Koren’s car. While Amaya was in the car, Koren did not say anything about Amaya having a gun. But as soon as Amaya left the car, Koren said, “Yea. Motherfucker had a pistol.” The informant responded, “That was a big ass pistol.” Before the trial, the parties agreed that the statements made by Koren and the informant were inadmissible. At the trial, Koren testified that Amaya had a gun during the sale. Amaya’s lawyer contended that Koren’s testimony was implausible because Koren did not say anything about a gun while Amaya was in the car. After the credibility of Koren’s testimony was attacked, the government (plaintiff) introduced the statements made by Koren and the informant. The district-court judge admitted the statements. Subsequently, the jury convicted Amaya. Amaya appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Williams, J.)

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