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United States v. Blechman

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
657 F.3d 1052 (2011)


Facts

The United States government (plaintiff) prosecuted Robert Andrew Blechman and Itsik Yass (defendants) on mail fraud and identity theft charges. At trial, the government alleged Blechman owned an America Online (AOL) email account and a Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) database account, both of which were used in committing the crimes. The trial judge ruled records compiled from these accounts were admissible under the Federal Rule of Evidence 803(6) business records exception to the hearsay rule. Other evidence showed that neither AOL nor PACER verified the authenticity of the information provided by their accountholders, and that AOL accounts often were opened under fictitious user names and addresses. The jury convicted Blechman. On appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, Blechman argued the email and PACER account records were "double" or "layered" hearsay to which Rule 803(6) did not apply, because the user-input subscriber information was unverified.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Ebel, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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