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United States v. Hernandez

864 F.3d 1292 (2017)

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United States v. Hernandez

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

864 F.3d 1292 (2017)

Facts

Four individuals (the crewmen) (defendants) on a ship called the Cristiano Ronaldo dumped black packages into the water. The United States Coast Guard retrieved some of the packages and discovered that the packages contained cocaine. The crewmen were indicted on drug-related charges. At the trial, the crewmen argued that another ship, the Clara Luz, was the source of the cocaine found in the water. In order to rebut this claim, the government (plaintiff) offered testimony from Officer Arambula, an officer in the Coast Guard. Officer Arambula testified about the out-of-court conduct of his colleague, Officer Ligsay. Specifically, Officer Arambula testified that he saw Officer Ligsay inspect the fish hold of the Clara Luz and that Officer Ligsay did not appear concerned during and after the inspection. There was no indication that Officer Ligsay intended his conduct to communicate any message to Officer Arambula. The district-court judge admitted Officer Ligsay’s nonverbal conduct into evidence. Subsequently, the jury convicted the crewmen. The crewmen appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Rogers, J.)

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