548 F.3d 1158 (8th Cir. 2008), 08-1079, United States v. Aleman

Docket Nº:08-1079, 08-1173, 08-2115.
Citation:548 F.3d 1158
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Federico Villanueva ALEMAN, Defendant-Appellant. United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Hector Martinez-Menera, formerly known as Hector Martinez Manera, formerly known as Hector Manera Martinez, Defendant-Appellant. United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Jack Marvin Yanka, Defend
Case Date:December 08, 2008
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
 
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548 F.3d 1158 (8th Cir. 2008)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Federico Villanueva ALEMAN, Defendant-Appellant.

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Hector Martinez-Menera, formerly known as Hector Martinez Manera, formerly known as Hector Manera Martinez, Defendant-Appellant.

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Jack Marvin Yanka, Defendant-Appellant.

Nos. 08-1079, 08-1173, 08-2115.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

December 8, 2008

Submitted: Oct. 14, 2008.

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Arthur Ray Martinez, argued, Minneapolis, MN, for appellant Aleman in 08-1079.

Rick E. Mattox, argued, Prior Lake, MN, for appellant Martinez-Menera in 08-1173.

Frederick J. Goetz, argued, Minneapolis, MN, for appellant Yanka in 08-2115.

David P. Steinkamp, AUSA, argued, Lisa D. Kirkpatrick, AUSA, on the brief, Minneapolis, MN, for appellee.

Before LOKEN, Chief Judge, JOHN R. GIBSON and MURPHY, Circuit Judges.

MURPHY, Circuit Judge.

Federico Aleman, Hector Martinez, and Jack Yanka were indicted for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine. Aleman and Yanka pled guilty. Martinez went to trial and was convicted by a jury. On their appeals, Aleman and Yanka raise sentencing issues. On his appeal, Martinez claims that his statement to the police should have been suppressed, that the district court 1 erred by denying a continuance and giving a willful blindness instruction, and that the government failed to turn over

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materials due him and made prejudicial statements before the jury. We remand Yanka's case for resentencing but otherwise affirm.

I.

Through a wiretap on the telephone of a suspected methamphetamine dealer, Michael Cook, St. Paul police traced calls to a phone number used by Federico Aleman and Hector Martinez. Police began to watch the building they believed was associated with the phone number and in which Martinez had a duplex apartment. Officers saw Martinez and Aleman go in and out of the building several times on December 29, 2006. The next day the police intercepted a phone call between Cook and a man the police believed to be Aleman and heard them arrange for Cook to receive six ounces of methamphetamine. Immediately thereafter Aleman and Martinez left the apartment building in a truck driven by Martinez. The police stopped the truck and found approximately six ounces of methamphetamine on Aleman and over $6000 in cash on Martinez. A subsequent search of Martinez's apartment revealed drug packaging materials, approximately 224 grams of a substance containing methamphetamine, cutting agents, a scale, and another $1900 in cash. On the day after his arrest Aleman told police that Martinez had given him the methamphetamine he had when arrested, and this statement was included in the affidavit supporting the criminal complaint charging the two men.

The grand jury indicted Aleman and Martinez on charges of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, 21 U.S.C. § § 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A) & 846 (Count 1); and aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, 21 U.S.C. § § 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A), & 18 U.S.C. § 2 (Count 2). Jack Marvin Yanka, a distributor for Michael Cook, was also indicted in the conspiracy count.

Aleman pled guilty to Count 2. Based on its finding that Aleman committed perjury at Martinez's trial, the district court imposed a two level enhancement for obstruction of justice and denied a reduction for acceptance of responsibility, resulting in an advisory guideline range of 151-188 months. Aleman was then sentenced to 154 months. Aleman appeals his sentence, arguing that the district court erred in finding that he committed perjury and in its application of the sentencing guidelines.

Yanka pled guilty to the conspiracy count. The district court determined that Yanka was a career offender but varied downward from the advisory guideline range of 235-262 months to impose a sentence of 120 months. Yanka appeals his sentence, arguing that he should not have been classified as a career offender because his prior predicate offense of Minnesota auto theft was not a crime of violence under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2.

Martinez went to trial and a jury convicted him on both counts. He challenges his conviction on several grounds. He contends that the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress a statement he made to police following his arrest. He also claims that the government violated Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed.2d 215 (1963), by not providing him with Aleman's post arrest statement prior to trial. He argues that the district court erred by not continuing the trial so a transcript of Aleman's statement could be produced, and that the district court improperly instructed the jury on willful blindness. He also alleges that the government violated its discovery obligations by not providing him with a statement made by his landlord prior to the pretrial hearing, and that the prosecutor and a government witness

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made prejudicial statements undermining the fairness of his trial.

II.

The day after his arrest, Aleman told police that Martinez had given him the drugs he possessed at the time of his arrest. At Martinez's trial, however, Aleman testified that he had obtained the drugs from someone else and that Martinez knew nothing about the drug trafficking. When confronted on cross examination with his prior statement, Aleman said that he had lied to police during his post arrest interview in order to pin the blame on Martinez.

At Aleman's sentencing hearing, the district court found that he had committed perjury at the trial and applied a two level obstruction of justice enhancement. A district court makes factual findings underlying an obstruction of justice enhancement by a preponderance of the evidence, United States v. Guel-Contreras, 468 F.3d 517, 522 (8th Cir.2006), and we review those findings for clear error, United States v. Vickers, 528 F.3d 1116, 1120 (8th Cir.2008). We review de novo its application of the guidelines to those facts. Id. An obstruction of justice enhancement is proper if the defendant has testified falsely under oath, but the false testimony must relate to a material matter and be done willfully rather than out of confusion or mistake. Id. at 1122; U.S.S.G. § 3C1.1 cmt. n. 4(b) (2007). The district court determined that Aleman had lied at trial from his demeanor and the “ patently incredible nature of some of [his] testimony" in light of other evidence about the trafficking operations and his association with Martinez. The district court also found that Aleman's perjury...

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