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United States v. Duenas

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
691 F.3d 1070 (9th Cir. 2012)


On April 19, 2007, Guam police officers executed a search warrant at the home of Ray Duenas and Lou Duenas (defendants) and seized narcotics, guns, and drug ledgers. The defendants were arrested and taken to the precinct. Officer Frankie Smith obtained a waiver of Ray’s Miranda rights and obtained a statement from Ray admitting that he sold methamphetamine in exchange for stolen items. Ray was charged with conspiracy to distribute over 50 grams of methamphetamine. Ray later moved to suppress his statement on grounds that his statement was involuntary and obtained in violation of Miranda. At the suppression hearing, Officer Smith testified about Ray’s statement. The district court denied Ray’s motion. Officer Smith was subsequently killed in an accident. The district court deemed him unavailable at trial and admitted his suppression hearing testimony. The jury convicted Ray and sentenced him to 25 years in prison. Ray appealed, arguing that Officer Smith’s suppression hearing testimony should not have been admitted.

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Holding and Reasoning (Wardlaw, J.)

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