US v. Jaime Castro

Filing 920100519

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UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 08-5236 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff Appellee, v. JAIME AVELAR CASTRO, a/k/a Jaime Avelar-Castro, Defendant Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, at Alexandria. Leonie M. Brinkema, District Judge. (1:08-cr-00278-LMB-1) Submitted: April 22, 2010 Decided: May 19, 2010 Before TRAXLER, Chief Judge, HAMILTON, Senior Circuit Judge. NIEMEYER, Circuit Judge, and Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion. John O. Iweanoge, II, IWEANOGE LAW CENTER, Washington, D.C., for Appellant. Dana Boente, United States Attorney, Joshua L. Rogers, Special Assistant United States Attorney, Alexandria, Virginia, for Appellee. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. PER CURIAM: Following a three-day trial, Jaime Avelar Castro was convicted by a jury of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, three counts of distribution of cocaine, and possession with intent to distribute cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. 2, 841(a)(1) & 846 (2006). of The district and court denied Castro's to motions for judgment acquittal on each sentenced to be Castro served sixty months' On imprisonment count, concurrently. appeal, Castro challenges the sufficiency of the evidence as to each count of conviction. Finding no error, we affirm. Rule 29 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure provides acquittal conviction. that where a district the court is must enter a judgment to sustain of a evidence insufficient Fed. R. Crim. P. 29(a). We review the district court's denial of a Rule 29 motion for judgment of acquittal de novo. 2005). United States v. Alerre, 430 F.3d 681, 693 (4th Cir. A defendant challenging the sufficiency of the evidence United States v. Beidler, 110 F.3d "bears a heavy burden." 1064, 1067 (4th Cir. 1997) (internal quotation marks omitted). The jury's verdict must be sustained "if there is substantial evidence, taking the view most favorable to the Government, to support it." Glasser v. United States, 315 U.S. 60, 80 (1942); United States v. Abu Ali, 528 F.3d 210, 244 (4th Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted), cert. denied, 2 129 S. Ct. 1312 (2009). This court "ha[s] defined `substantial evidence' as evidence that a reasonable finder of fact could accept as adequate and sufficient to support a conclusion of a defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." Alerre, 430 F.3d In both at 693 (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). reviewing for substantial evidence, we consider circumstantial and direct evidence and allow the Government all reasonable inferences from the facts shown to those sought to be established. Cir. 2008). To convict Castro of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, the Government had to prove that there was an agreement between two or more people to distribute cocaine, that Castro knew of the agreement, and that he knowingly and voluntarily became part of the conspiracy. (4th Cir. 1996). United States v. Burgos, 94 F.3d 849, 857 United States v. Harvey, 532 F.3d 326, 333 (4th To prove the three counts of distribution, the Government had to show that Castro knowingly and intentionally distributed cocaine. 227 (4th Cir. United States v. Yearwood, 518 F.3d 220, Distribution can be actual or 2008). constructive. transferred The defendant "need not actually have physically cocaine in order to be found guilty of the the substantive offense of distribution." 842 F.2d 502, 507 (1st Cir. 1988). United States v. Acevedo, To support a conviction for possession with intent to distribute, the Government must prove 3 that Castro knowingly or deliver possessed the the cocaine See and United intended States to v. distribute cocaine. Collins, 412 F.3d 515, 519 (4th Cir. 2005). actual or constructive. 878 (4th Cir. 1992). narcotic exercise Schocket, if he knows and Possession may be United States v. Rusher, 966 F.2d 868, "A person has constructive possession of a of its presence over and has the power States it to v. is dominion 753 F.2d control 340 it." United 336, (4th Cir. 1985). "Once established that a defendant is a participant in a conspiracy to possess and distribute a controlled substance, he need not have actual possession of the controlled substance to be guilty of the substantive charge of possession with intent to distribute. Constructive Laughman, omitted). With these standards in mind, our thorough review of the trial transcript convinces us that the evidence was 618 possession F.2d 1067, is sufficient." (4th Cir. United 1980) States v. 1076-77 (citations sufficient to support Castro's convictions on all five counts. We therefore affirm Castro's convictions. We dispense with oral argument because the facts and legal contentions are adequately presented in the materials before the court and argument would not aid the decisional process. AFFIRMED 4

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