United States v. Stever

603 F.3d 747 (2010)

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United States v. Stever

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
603 F.3d 747 (2010)

  • Written by Haley Gintis, JD

Facts

Stever (defendant) was convicted for manufacturing marijuana and conspiracy to manufacture marijuana. During discovery, Stever requested from the government (plaintiff) materials containing information on the Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) that operated throughout Eastern Oregon. Stever sought to introduce the materials into evidence to show (1) the DTOs often grew marijuana on private land without the owner’s knowledge; (2) the marijuana operation Stever was accused of orchestrating had similarities to the operations of the DTOs; and (3) it was unlikely that the DTOs would have involved Stever in a marijuana operation because he was Caucasian. The government objected to the discovery request on the grounds that showing the DTOs may be involved in the marijuana operation was not probative of Stever’s involvement and therefore not relevant. Stever motioned to compel discovery. The district court rejected the motion and ruled the evidence was not relevant. Stever appealed. On appeal, the government argued that the material was not relevant on the grounds that (1) it failed to show the involvement of a specific DTO; (2) showing that a DTO may have been involved in the operation did not exonerate Stever, and (3) the theory that the DTO planted the marijuana was too speculative.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Berzon, J.)

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