776 F.2d 1509 (11th Cir. 1985), 84-5364, United States v. Rodriguez

Docket Nº:84-5364.
Citation:776 F.2d 1509
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Onelio RODRIGUEZ, Leopold Planell, Luis Batista, Defendants-Appellants.
Case Date:November 26, 1985
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

Page 1509

776 F.2d 1509 (11th Cir. 1985)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Onelio RODRIGUEZ, Leopold Planell, Luis Batista,

Defendants-Appellants.

No. 84-5364.

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

November 26, 1985

Page 1510

Clifford B. Hark, Miami, Fla., for Rodriguez, Panell and Batista.

Joel Robrish, Miami, Fla., for Panell.

Linda Collins-Hertz, Asst. U.S. Atty., Miami, Fla., for U.S.

Appeals from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Before TJOFLAT and HENDERSON, Circuit Judges, and NICHOLS, [*] Senior Circuit Judge.

TJOFLAT, Circuit Judge:

This appeal involves a challenge to the jury selection process in the Miami Division of the Southern District of Florida. The district court denied appellants' joint motion to dismiss their indictment. We affirm.

I.

Onelio Rodriguez, Luis Batista, and Leopold Planell were indicted by a grand jury in the Southern District of Florida on January 6, 1984. They were charged with two counts: conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana in violation of 21 U.S.C. Sec. 955c (1982) and possession with intent to distribute marijuana in violation of 21 U.S.C. Sec. 955a(a) (1982) and 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2 (1982). Prior to trial, the defendants moved the court to dismiss the indictment, alleging that the system for choosing grand and petit juries in the Miami Division of the Southern District of Florida violated their right, as guaranteed by the sixth amendment and the Jury Selection and Service Act of 1968, 28 U.S.C. Secs. 1861-1869 (1982), 1 to be indicted and tried by juries representing a fair cross-section of the community. They argued that the Division's practice of filling the master jury wheel exclusively from voter registration lists without supplementation from other sources resulted in an unconstitutional underrepresentation of blacks and Hispanics, both of which are distinct, cognizable groups.

The district court granted the defendants' motion to consolidate their case with ten other cases raising the same jury selection challenge, for the limited purpose of hearing the motions to dismiss the indictments. The court held an evidentiary hearing and, on March 21, 1984, issued a memorandum opinion and order denying the consolidated motions, concluding that a prima facie case of a fair cross-section violation had not been made. The court found that Hispanics did not constitute a distinct, cognizable group and that, even if the court were to accept the defendants' position that they did, it would "conclude that 'hispanic' underrepresentation on Miami jury venires is not constitutionally significant." The court determined that blacks were unquestionably a cognizable group, but the defendants had not established...

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