792 F.2d 994 (11th Cir. 1986), 85-5392, United States v. Price

Docket Nº:85-5392.
Citation:792 F.2d 994
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Joseph R. PRICE, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:June 27, 1986
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
 
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Page 994

792 F.2d 994 (11th Cir. 1986)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Joseph R. PRICE, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 85-5392.

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

June 27, 1986

Page 995

Zuckerman, Spaeder, Taylor & Evans, John F. Evans, G. Richard Strafer, Coral Gables, Fla., for defendant-appellant.

Stanley Marcus, U.S. Atty., Helen Forsyth, Nancy L. Worthington, Asst. U.S. Attys., Miami, Fla., for plaintiff-appellee.

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

Before VANCE and JOHNSON, Circuit Judges, and ALLGOOD, [*] District Judge.

Page 996

ALLGOOD, District Judge:

This case involves an appeal from a verdict of guilty entered against the defendant. The issues presented before the court are centered around possible Sixth and Fifth Amendment violations.

The facts of this case are as follows: On March 8, 1983, the defendant, and then a Task Force Agent, Price, took possession of two tanks of hashish oil at the Miami International Airport after they were seized by a customs inspector. He turned them over to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Southeast Regional Laboratory, where they were examined and their contents identified. The tanks were marked by the chemist and returned to the lab's evidence custodian.

Price was assigned as the case agent to the criminal prosecutions arising from seizure of the tanks. Although the Assistant United States Attorney assigned to those cases advised Price that he did not need the tanks as evidence in the trial, Price insisted that he would bring them in case they were needed. On Thursday, September 8, 1983, Price checked the tanks out of the DEA lab, indicating that they were evidence in a trial. Of the two cases brought as a result of the seizure of the tanks, one defendant pled guilty on September 11, 1983 and the other case was continued indefinitely. Price never returned the tanks to the lab.

On two occasions between September 8, 1983 and his arrest on September 22, 1983, Price delivered portions of hashish oil to Jimmy Carbone, a confidential informant with whom Price had been working. On September 16, 1983, Carbone contacted the FBI in Miami and an investigation of Price began. Between September 17 and September 22, 1983, Carbone made consensual tape recordings of telephone conversations and meetings with Price. These recordings became the primary evidence against Price because Carbone died in December of 1983.

The government contends that the tapes show Price giving...

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