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Name: U.S. v. Estrada-Macias
Case #: 97-10115
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 07/05/2000
Subsequent History: None

The government failed to meet its burden of proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, that appellant conspired to produce methamphetamine, so the appellate court reversed appellant’s conviction based on insufficiency of the evidence. The record here was barren of evidence that appellant participated in the conspiracy. No one testified he was involved, no one ever saw appellant with the ingredients or the finished product, and he was not present at the deliveries of the pills. When he was found in vehicles with some of the conspirators, there was no evidence that there were drugs or precursors in the vehicles at the time. There was no evidence, such as fingerprints, connecting appellant to the items found in the trailer, which was parked next to the house which was the site of the manufacturing effort. Appellant had lived in that trailer for the past three months, but there was no evidence he maintained control over it. He had no interest in the house, garage or trailer, and had no utility bills. In contrast, the conspirators frequently entered the trailer. Presence at the scene, or casual association with conspiring people is not enough. Judge Keep dissented, finding sufficient evidence to convict appellant of conspiracy.