U.S. v. Louis, No. 70

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore OAKES, MINER and MAHONEY; MINER
Citation814 F.2d 852
Parties22 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. 853 UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. George Kaithovalappil LOUIS, Defendant-Appellant. ocket 86-1210.
Decision Date11 March 1987
Docket NumberNo. 70,D

Page 852

814 F.2d 852
22 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. 853
UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,
v.
George Kaithovalappil LOUIS, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 70, Docket 86-1210.
United States Court of Appeals,
Second Circuit.
Argued Sept. 17, 1986.
Decided March 11, 1987.

Page 854

David Eames, New York City (Kotite Kaplan Bodian & Eames, New York City, of counsel) for defendant-appellant.

Michael Bromwich, Asst. U.S. Atty., New York City (Rudolph W. Giuliani, U.S. Atty. for S.D.N.Y., Warren Neil Eggleston, Asst. U.S. Atty., New York City, of counsel) for appellee.

Before OAKES, MINER and MAHONEY, Circuit Judges.

MINER, Circuit Judge:

George Kaithovalappil Louis appeals from a judgment of conviction entered in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Duffy, J.) following a jury trial. Louis was convicted of conspiracy to import heroin, 21 U.S.C. Secs. 846, 963 (Count One); importing heroin, 21 U.S.C. Secs. 952(a), 960(a)(1), 960(b)(1)(A) and 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2 (Count Two); and attempting to distribute heroin, 21 U.S.C. Sec. 846 and 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2 (Count Three). Louis contends that the trial court erroneously admitted into evidence a co-conspirator's conviction and two tape-recorded conversations, that he was not brought to trial within the time required by the Speedy Trial Act, and that he was improperly sentenced under standards applicable to those convicted of drug trafficking in Hong Kong.

I. BACKGROUND

The events giving rise to the conviction and sentence subject of this appeal had their genesis in Hong Kong in late 1984, when defendant-appellant Louis struck up a friendship there with one Nuri Lama. The two men developed a close relationship and, when Louis indicated a need for money, Nuri Lama made him the following proposition: "If you are interested, then you have to get me some people for me to smuggle drugs for me in the United States." Transcript at 95. Nuri Lama described the drugs as "illegal medicine," and his proposition included the caveat, "if you get caught you might go to jail."

Louis, a citizen of India, thereafter attempted to recruit couriers for the enterprise by posting a notice on the bulletin board in the lobby of the Hong Kong hotel in which he was living. The notice offered a round trip to New York to anyone having a valid United States visa. Garden Lawson, a Canadian national on a business trip to the Orient, responded to the invitation in March of 1985. Louis told him that he would be paid for smuggling "cancer medicine," which had not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, to New York. Reassured that no narcotics would be involved, Lawson agreed to make the trip.

At a meeting on March 27, 1985, at his hotel, Louis gave Lawson four closed cannisters containing almost six and one-half ounces of heroin together with several condoms he had received from Nuri Lama. In accordance with Lama's instructions, Louis directed Lawson to place the cannisters in the condoms and insert them in his rectum. Stepping into a nearby bathroom, Lawson ignored the direction, placed the cannisters inside his underwear and then proceeded with Louis to the Hong Kong airport. At the airport, they were met by Nuri Lama, who gave Louis some cash and an airline ticket for delivery to Lawson. After he received these items, Lawson boarded an airplane, bound for New York City, where he was to check into a hotel and await further instructions.

When Lawson left the airplane during a stopover in Seattle, Washington on March 27, 1985, he was detained by a Customs Inspector, whose suspicions led to the search of his person and the inevitable seizure of the heroin he was carrying. Following his arrest, Lawson revealed the details of the smuggling scheme to agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration ("DEA") and agreed to make a controlled delivery of the heroin in New York City.

Page 855

Upon his arrival in New York on March 28 in the custody of the DEA, Lawson called Hong Kong as directed and left a message for Louis that he soon would be checking into one of the hotels named in a list Louis had given him. After he arrived at the hotel, Lawson received a call from Louis, who told him that he would be contacted shortly. Later that evening, he was called by Milan Lama, who subsequently came to the hotel at the request of Nuri Lama to pick up the heroin. The encounter between Lawson and Milan Lama at the hotel was monitored and recorded by DEA agents, who arrested Milan after he accepted the heroin package and paid the $1,500 balance due Lawson for smuggling services rendered.

Milan Lama and Garden Lawson were convicted after a jury trial in late May and early June of 1985 before Judge Weinfeld in the Southern District of New York. Nuri Lama entered the United States in June 1985 and was arrested on a charge arising from an unrelated heroin transaction. His plea of guilty in the Northern District of Iowa was accepted in satisfaction of all pending charges, including those arising from the courier scheme in which Louis was involved. Louis was arrested in Hong Kong on an extradition warrant, waived extradition and arrived in New York on September 7, 1985. He entered a plea of not guilty on September 9, 1985.

Apparently dissatisfied with his then-assigned counsel, Louis forwarded a pro se motion for the substitution of counsel to Magistrate Buchwald on October 18, 1985. Although Louis certified that he had sent copies of the motion to his counsel and to the United States Attorney's office, the copies were not received by the addressees. The original motion papers were not received in Judge Duffy's chambers until November 19, 1985, and the government did not learn of the motion until advised by the Judge's chambers in mid-January. A hearing on the issue of new counsel was held on January 23, 1986, and the court thereafter excluded from Speedy Trial Act time requirements the entire period commencing with the filing of the motion.

The trial began on March 25, 1986 and concluded on April 1, 1986, with a verdict of guilty on all three counts. The government's witnesses were Athal Williams, a United States Customs Inspector at the Seattle airport; Arthur Hubbard, a DEA agent; Nuri Lama; and Garden Lawson. Lawson testified on direct examination that he had been tried, convicted and sentenced to a three-year term for the same offenses with which Louis was charged. Louis rested without calling any witnesses or offering any evidence. The government then introduced two tape recordings of telephone calls from Louis to Thomas Sage, a heroin dealer. Nuri Lama identified the voices on the recordings and testified that the calls were placed at his request to determine whether Sage desired to purchase heroin, referred to as "carpets" in the telephone conversations.

Prior to imposing sentence, the trial judge undertook an extended discussion of his social meeting with a judge of the High Court of Hong Kong. He explained that the Hong Kong judge had given him a "feel" for the kinds of sentences imposed for drug trafficking...

To continue reading

Request your trial
27 practice notes
  • U.S. v. Coonan, No. 280
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • July 16, 1991
    ...the prosecution was able to avoid the appearance that it was concealing impeachment evidence from the jury. See United States v. Louis, 814 F.2d 852, 856 (2d Cir.1987). Thus, although we need not address the propriety of admitting the challenged evidence, we note that Kelly's claim is dubio......
  • United States v. Guerrero, No. 09 Cr. 339 (RWS).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • December 1, 2011
    ...“to avoid the appearance that it [is] concealing impeachment evidence from the jury.” Coonan, 938 F.2d at 1561;United States v. Louis, 814 F.2d 852, 856 (2d Cir.1987). The evidence relating to the uncharged crimes was also admissible under Fed.R.Evid. 404(b) and 403, either to rebut any cla......
  • U.S. v. Abuhamra, Docket No. 04-2678-CR.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • November 15, 2004
    ...consideration of ex parte information at sentencing. See United States v. Corace, 146 F.3d 51, 54 (2d Cir.1998); United States v. Louis, 814 F.2d 852, 858 (2d Accordingly, on remand, the district court should not again consider the ex parte submission unless the government makes the require......
  • United States v. Chartier, 17-CR-0372(JS)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • August 26, 2021
    ...for proper purposes.” United States v. Kaplan, 758 Fed.Appx. 34, 40 (2d Cir. 2018) (summary order) (quoting United States v. Louis, 814 F.2d 852, 856 (2d Cir. 1987)). Such purposes include “invit[ing] the jury to consider the implausibility of [a defendant's] claim that the witnesses were a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
27 cases
  • U.S. v. Coonan, No. 280
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • July 16, 1991
    ...the prosecution was able to avoid the appearance that it was concealing impeachment evidence from the jury. See United States v. Louis, 814 F.2d 852, 856 (2d Cir.1987). Thus, although we need not address the propriety of admitting the challenged evidence, we note that Kelly's claim is dubio......
  • United States v. Guerrero, No. 09 Cr. 339 (RWS).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • December 1, 2011
    ...“to avoid the appearance that it [is] concealing impeachment evidence from the jury.” Coonan, 938 F.2d at 1561;United States v. Louis, 814 F.2d 852, 856 (2d Cir.1987). The evidence relating to the uncharged crimes was also admissible under Fed.R.Evid. 404(b) and 403, either to rebut any cla......
  • U.S. v. Abuhamra, Docket No. 04-2678-CR.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • November 15, 2004
    ...consideration of ex parte information at sentencing. See United States v. Corace, 146 F.3d 51, 54 (2d Cir.1998); United States v. Louis, 814 F.2d 852, 858 (2d Accordingly, on remand, the district court should not again consider the ex parte submission unless the government makes the require......
  • United States v. Chartier, 17-CR-0372(JS)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • August 26, 2021
    ...for proper purposes.” United States v. Kaplan, 758 Fed.Appx. 34, 40 (2d Cir. 2018) (summary order) (quoting United States v. Louis, 814 F.2d 852, 856 (2d Cir. 1987)). Such purposes include “invit[ing] the jury to consider the implausibility of [a defendant's] claim that the witnesses were a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT