307 F.3d 1150 (9th Cir. 2002), 00-10088, U.S. v. Sua

Docket Nº:00-10088
Citation:307 F.3d 1150
Party Name:U.S. v. Sua
Case Date:October 09, 2002
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
 
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Page 1150

307 F.3d 1150 (9th Cir. 2002)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Edward SUA, Defendant-Appellant.

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Raymond Pulu, Defendant-Appellant.

Nos. 00-10088, 00-10089.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

October 9, 2002

Argued and Submitted May 6, 2002.

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Sarah Courageous, Elizabeth A. Fisher and Arthur E. Ross, Honolulu, HI, for the defendants-appellants.

Craig H. Nakamura and Edward H. Kubo, Jr., United States Attorney, Honolulu, HI, for the plaintiff-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii; Helen Gillmor, District Judge, Presiding. D.C. Nos CR-98-00411-02-HG, CR-98-00411-03-HG.

Before: WALLACE, TASHIMA and TALLMAN, Circuit Judges.

WALLACE, Senior Circuit Judge.

A federal jury convicted Sua and Pulu of conspiring and attempting to possess cocaine and methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841 and 846. Sua and Pulu were sentenced to 336 months and 188 months respectively. Here they appeal their convictions and sentences. The district court had jurisdiction pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3231. We have jurisdiction over this timely filed appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291 and 18 U.S.C. § 3742. We affirm.

I.

On June 29, 1988, Bobby Chalk arrived at the Honolulu International Airport on a flight from Los Angeles. Law enforcement authorities stopped him, searched his luggage, and found large quantities of methamphetamine and cocaine. After he was arrested, he admitted to carrying illegal drugs from Los Angeles to Hawaii for Jose Sanchez and agreed to help the authorities identify other participants in the drug conspiracy by simulating a drug delivery.

Later that evening, Sanchez called Chalk at the Airport Holiday Inn to give him delivery instructions. At the appointed time, Sua approached the hotel in a small Honda that matched the description given by Sanchez. Sua abruptly sped away, but was stopped and arrested.

The officer who stopped Sua saw a black Impala drive by while he was making the arrest. He had seen the Impala circling the hotel earlier and noticed that the driver, Kaisa Tai, matched the description of a person that met with Sanchez earlier in the day. He directed other officers to arrest the occupants of the Impala. Officers stopped the Impala and arrested its four occupants, including Pulu.

II.

Before trial, Tai entered into a negotiated settlement with the government. He agreed to plead guilty to the attempted cocaine possession charge and to testify at trial against his codefendants. In exchange, the government agreed to dismiss the attempted methamphetamine possession and conspiracy counts. Sua argued during his trial that Tai's plea agreement should be admitted under Fed. R. Evid. 801(d)(2) as a statement by a party-opponent, the government. Sua contended that the plea agreement was an admission by the government that Tai was not guilty of the methamphetamine conspiracy or attempted possession counts. If the government knew that Tai was not guilty of these counts, Sua argues, it surely knew that Sua was not guilty of them either. The district court excluded Tai's plea agreement and Sua requests reversal. We review this evidentiary ruling for an abuse of discretion. United States v. Ortland, 109 F.3d 539, 543 (9th Cir. 1997), cert. denied,

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522 U.S. 851, 118 S.Ct. 141, 139 L.Ed.2d...

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