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United States v. Heredia

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
483 F.3d 913 (2007)


Heredia (defendant) was stopped at an Arizona checkpoint on the border between the United States and Mexico where 349 pounds of marijuana were found in her trunk. Heredia was indicted for possessing a controlled substance with the intent to distribute. At trial, Heredia testified that she had borrowed her aunt’s car, who had tried to explain the strange smell of the car to her as spilled laundry detergent. Heredia also testified that she was nervous because her mother, who accompanied her, looked very nervous and was carrying a strangely large amount of cash for an unemployed woman. Heredia never checked the car for drugs before reaching the checkpoint however. The jury was instructed to convict Heredia if it believed that Heredia was deliberately ignorant of the possibility of there being drugs in the car. Heredia was convicted and appealed, claiming that the jury instruction was inappropriate given the evidence.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Kozinski, J.)

Concurrence (Kleinfeld, J.)

Dissent (Graber, J.)

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