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United States v. Young

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
86 F.3d 944 (1996)


Facts

The government (plaintiff) prosecuted Keith Young and Edelmiro Tamez (defendants) for narcotics distribution. A government witness, John Drake, testified that Young and Tamez supplied Drake with drugs in the Tri-Cities area. The defense wanted the government to give another witness, David Delfs, use immunity so that Delfs could testify and undermine Drake’s story without facing prosecution on the basis of that testimony. Specifically, Delfs claimed that Drake intimated that he was going to falsely accuse someone, possibly Young, of being Drake’s Tri-Cities supplier while at someone named “Flash” Adams’s house. On cross-examination, Drake testified that he did not go to Flash Adams’s house during the time Delfs said the conversation happened. The government refused to grant Delfs immunity, so he did not testify about what Drake said. After the court convicted both Young and Tamez, they appealed, arguing the court should have compelled the prosecution to grant Delfs use immunity. The government countered that Delfs’s testimony would have been inadmissible anyway because Drake had no opportunity to explain his prior inconsistent statement beforehand. After finding that the trial court should have compelled granting Delfs use immunity, the appellate court considered whether the federal rules of evidence would have barred his testimony anyway.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Tashima, J.)

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