United States v. Moreland et al.

The Facts

Defendants plotted conspiracy to distribute large quantities of methamphetamine and marijuana. Two of them were felons in possession of firearms and the one committed the substantive drug offense.

Procedural History

The government supported the charge on base of detailed affidavits. Defendants asked for an evidentiary hearing. The judge properly refused cue to the fact that they were unable to specify any assertion in the government’s affidavits that they could contest with evidence. The judgments were affirmed by the appellate court.


Wiretapping can be used in investigation when other investigative methods, such as the use of undercover agents and informants, telephone records, pen registers, trap-and-trace devices, the grand jury, physical searches, and physical surveillance, do not yield essential evidence. Law enforcement  officers are permitted to testify as both a lay witness and an expert witness.

The Issue

(a)    Whether claims of defendants that affidavits presented by the government were not thoroughly evaluated were evinced sufficiently; and (b) whether the district court violated any rule of criminal procedure in the course of trial.

The Holding/Reasoning

The appellate court determined that decision of the initial trial court which was based extensively on the government’s affidavits is unchanged because appellants could not support their contentions with substantial evidence.

“Excusing prospective jurors before the trial did not violate Fed. R. Crim. P. 43(a)(2), which entitles the defendant to be present “at  every trial stage, including jury impanelment.” But issuance of jury summonses, submission of responses to those summonses in which the responders asked to be excused, and action on those submissions – all before the jury venire is created and the members of the venire seated in the courtroom when the trial is called – precede jury impanelment”.

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