United States v. Lynch
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
903 F.3d 1061 (2018)
In 1996 the state of California decriminalized marijuana for medical purposes. The United States Supreme Court subsequently held that marijuana did not have a legitimate medical purpose and found that the federal government (plaintiff) was authorized to enforce laws against marijuana-related crimes. Charles Lynch (defendant) operated a marijuana dispensary in California in 2005 and early 2006. Lynch closed his first dispensary in 2006 and opened a new dispensary, Central Coast Compassionate Caregivers (CCCC). The federal government began investigating Lynch and CCCC. Lynch was indicted in federal district court in 2007. At trial, Lynch testified that he believed his dispensaries were legal because he believed that California’s decriminalization of marijuana superseded any federal prohibitions. Lynch testified that while he operated his first dispensary and after he had made substantial progress in opening CCCC, he spoke to an agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), who informed him that the discretion to prosecute marijuana belonged to cities and counties. Lynch argued that because of the call with the DEA, he believed his dispensary business did not violate the law. To show that his call with the DEA agent actually occurred, Lynch sought to introduce testimony that he spoke to an attorney about the call and a recording of a radio program in which the attorney talked about the call. However, the district court refused to allow this evidence, holding that both the testimony and the radio segment were inadmissible hearsay. Lynch was convicted. Lynch appealed, arguing the attorney’s proposed testimony about his conversation with Lynch and the radio recording were admissible prior consistent statements.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Rogers, J.)
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