Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status

United States v. Tapia-Ortiz

23 F.3d 738 (1994)

Case BriefRelatedOptions
From our private database of 30,900+ case briefs...

United States v. Tapia-Ortiz

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

23 F.3d 738 (1994)

Facts

A federal jury convicted Juan Tapia-Ortiz and Ernesto Velez-Morales (defendants) of conspiring to distribute heroin and cocaine and possessing cocaine with intent to distribute. One informant, Hector Hernandez, bought heroin from Velez-Morales and Tapia-Ortiz 10 to 15 times in Brooklyn bars. Hernandez sometimes recorded the purchases in a composition book. Hernandez contacted Tapia-Ortiz through a beeper system involving code numbers. Another informant worked with undercover agents to sell about twenty kilograms of cocaine to Velez-Morales and Tapia-Ortiz. Velez-Morales was arrested after a high-speed chase and had the cocaine in his trunk and a beeper and business cards with contact numbers on his person. When police arrested Tapia-Ortiz, Tapia-Ortiz had a business card from one of the bars with Hernandez’s beeper number and code number written on it. At trial, Velez-Morales and Tapia-Ortiz primarily argued that, aside from the informants’ testimony, the government’s (plaintiff) evidence was consistent with innocent activity and that Velez-Morales did not know cocaine was in his trunk. Special Agent James Glauner of the Drug Enforcement Administration testified as an expert prosecution witness about the amount and purity of the cocaine possessed by Velez-Morales and Tapia-Ortiz, the wholesale and retail value of the cocaine, and drug traffickers’ common practices of using beepers with code numbers, cash, and nicknames or false names. Glauner also opined after reviewing Hernandez’s composition book that it was an accounting record of heroin transactions. During closing arguments, the prosecution briefly mentioned Glauner’s testimony while discussing Tapia-Ortiz’s nickname, the use of cash and beepers, and the amount of cocaine. Velez-Morales and Tapia-Ortiz appealed from their convictions, arguing in part that the prosecution had improperly used Glauner’s expert testimony about habits of drug traffickers to bolster its case.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Walker, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 551,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.

    Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.

    Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee

Here's why 551,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 30,900 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership
Here's why 551,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
  • Reliable - written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students
  • The right length and amount of information - includes the facts, issue, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents
  • Access in your class - works on your mobile and tablet
  • 30,900 briefs - keyed to 984 casebooks
  • Uniform format for every case brief
  • Written in plain English - not in legalese and not just repeating the court's language
  • Massive library of related video lessons - and practice questions
  • Top-notch customer support

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership