United States v. Henareh, 042514 FED2, 13-1305-cr

Docket Nº:13-1305-cr
Party Name:United States of America, Appellee, v. Siavosh Henareh, AKA Sealed Defendant 1, AKA Siyavesh Henareh, AKA The Doctor, Defendant-Appellant, Bachar Wehbe, AKA Sealed Defendant 2, AKA Farez, Cetin Aksu, AKA Sealed Defendant 3, Defendants.
Attorney:FOR APPELLANT: Melinda Sarafa, Sarafa Law LLC, New York, NY. FOR APPELLEE: Benjamin Naftalis (Justin Anderson, on the brief), Assistant United States Attorneys, for Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Judge Panel:Present: RALPH K. WINTER, BARRINGTON D. PARKER PETER W. HALL, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:April 25, 2014
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

United States of America, Appellee,

v.

Siavosh Henareh, AKA Sealed Defendant 1, AKA Siyavesh Henareh, AKA The Doctor, Defendant-Appellant,

Bachar Wehbe, AKA Sealed Defendant 2, AKA Farez, Cetin Aksu, AKA Sealed Defendant 3, Defendants.

No. 13-1305-cr

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

April 25, 2014

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

SUMMARY ORDER

RULINGS BY SUMMARY ORDER DO NOT HAVE PRECEDENTIAL EFFECT. CITATION TO A SUMMARY ORDER FILED ON OR AFTER JANUARY 1, 2007, IS PERMITTED AND IS GOVERNED BY FEDERAL RULE OF APPELLATE PROCEDURE 32.1 AND THIS COURT'S LOCAL RULE 32.1.1. WHEN CITING A SUMMARY ORDER IN A DOCUMENT FILED WITH THIS COURT, A PARTY MUST CITE EITHER THE FEDERAL APPENDIX OR AN ELECTRONIC DATABASE (WITH THE NOTATION "SUMMARY ORDER"). A PARTY CITING A SUMMARY ORDER MUST SERVE A COPY OF IT ON ANY PARTY NOT REPRESENTED BY COUNSEL.

At a stated term of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, held at the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse, 40 Foley Square, in the City of New York, on the 25th day of April, two thousand fourteen.

Appeal from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Rakoff, J.).

FOR APPELLANT: Melinda Sarafa, Sarafa Law LLC, New York, NY.

FOR APPELLEE: Benjamin Naftalis (Justin Anderson, on the brief), Assistant United States Attorneys, for Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Present: RALPH K. WINTER, BARRINGTON D. PARKER PETER W. HALL, Circuit Judges.

UPON DUE CONSIDERATION, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that the judgment of the district court is AFFIRMED.

Defendant–Appellant Siavosh Henareh appeals from a judgment of conviction following a trial by jury in which Henareh was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin, knowing or intending that the heroin would be imported into the United States, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 963. The district court sentenced Henareh to 210 months' imprisonment. Henerah raises several challenges on appeal. He argues (1) that the government did not introduce sufficient evidence to establish that he knew the conspiracy aimed to distribute heroin in the United States; (2) that the district court erred when it included a conscious avoidance instruction in the jury instructions; (3) that the district court abused its discretion when it limited the scope of the defense's cross-examination of a government witness; and (4) that his sentence of 210 months' imprisonment was both procedurally and substantively unreasonable. We assume the parties' familiarity with the relevant facts, the procedural history, and the issues presented for review, which we reference insofar as is necessary to explain our decision to affirm.

The standard of review we employ when addressing challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence is well established. See, e.g., United States v. Chavez, 549 F.3d 119, 124 (2d Cir. 2008). Generally speaking, we review de novo whether the evidence is sufficient to support a conviction, United States v. Anderson, No. 11-5364, 2014 WL 814889, at *6 (2d Cir. Mar. 4, 2014), and will "uphold the conviction if any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, " United States v. Aguilar, 585 F.3d 652, 656 (2d Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and emphasis omitted). "A defendant seeking to overturn a jury verdict on sufficiency grounds bears a heavy burden, as we exercise an exceedingly deferential standard of review." Anderson, 2014 WL 814889, at *6 (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).

Henareh argues that the evidence was insufficient to prove that he knew the intent of the conspiracy was to distribute heroin within the United States, a key element of a prosecution brought under 21 U.S.C. § 963. Our review of the proceedings below convinces us otherwise. Specifically before the jury were transcripts of meetings between Henareh and confidential sources on January 12, 2011, and February 8, 2011, in which those sources informed Henareh that the drugs were intended for the United States. Furthermore, a former co-conspirator of Henareh who later became a government witness testified that it was...

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