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United States v. Cornett

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
195 F.3d 776 (1999)


Facts

The United States government (plaintiff) prosecuted Wendell Abbott Cornett and Mary Martillea Galloway (defendants) on illegal drug conspiracy charges. The government's minimal trial evidence against Galloway was ambiguous, except for a tape recording of a fifty-minute bowling alley conversation between two other coconspirators, one of whom was Kim Boutte. Most of the conversation concerned bowling scores and bowling alley patrons. At one point, Boutte said Galloway had displaced Boutte in Cornett's affections, and Galloway had assumed Boutte's former duties of counting and storing cash from Cornett's illegal drug sales. The judge admitted the tape under Federal Rule of Evidence 801(d)(2)(E), as a statement made by Galloway's coconspirator in furtherance of the conspiracy. The jury convicted Galloway of conspiracy, and she appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, arguing the tape was inadmissible hearsay evidence.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Dennis, 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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