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United States v. Pool

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
660 F.2d 547 (1981)


Facts

Agent Starratt, an agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), received a telephone call on August 5, 1978 from a person who identified himself as “Chip.” The caller told Agent Starratt that Petrulla wanted another DEA agent to obtain a boat. Agent Starratt did not record the conversation and never met “Chip.” The United States (US) (plaintiff) charged Loye (defendant) and other defendants with several offenses relating to an alleged scheme to import approximately 225,000 pounds of marijuana into the United States. At trial, Agent Starratt testified about the August 5, 1978 telephone call. Based on the fact that Loye was known to use the nickname “Chip,” Agent Starratt identified the caller in the August 5, 1978 phone call as Loye. However, since Agent Starratt never met “Chip,” he never performed a voice comparison between “Chip” and Loye. Agent Starratt relied solely on the caller’s self-identification as “Chip” in order to identify Loye as the caller. The district court admitted Agent Starratt’s identification of Loye. Loye was convicted of using a telephone to facilitate illegal importation of marijuana. Loye appealed his conviction to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, asserting that Agent Starratt’s identification of Loye as the caller was inadmissible because the identification was not properly authenticated.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hill, J.)

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