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United States v. Freeman

ELR Citation: 26 ELR 20946
Nos. No. 94-60811, 77 F.3d 812/(5th Cir., 02/29/1996)

The court upholds a pet store owner's conviction of conspiring to illegally import Amazon parrots into the United States from Mexico. The court first holds that the evidence introduced at trial supports the jury's finding that the defendant was involved in a conspiracy to import the parrots. The defendant admitted to repeatedly buying parrots that looked similar to Amazon parrots that parrot dealers were convicted of illegally smuggling. Other evidence included the parrot delivery method and timing and the high percentage of parrots delivered to the defendant that were sick with a disease found only in imported wild birds. Also, the dealer testified that the defendant continued to buy parrots after learning that the dealer was charged with smuggling parrots. The court next holds that the evidence supports the jury's determination that the defendant committed the offenses. The evidence included the dealer's statements to police, telephone records, and the dealer's testimony that parrots were delivered to the defendant. The court also holds that the defendant is not entitled to a new trial based on newly discovered evidence. The new testimonial evidence is not newly discovered, but newly available, and comes from the defendant's close personal friend and codefendant. The court further holds that newly discovered telephone records do not justify a new trial. The records indicate that another person received the relevant shipment of illegally imported parrots, but do not rule out the possibility that the defendant also received part of the shipment.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Elinor Colburn
Environment and Natural Resources Division
U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 514-2000

Counsel for Defendant
Edward L. Ciccone
P.O. Box 879
Corpus Christi TX 78476
(512) 887-6296

Before POLITZ, Chief Judge, and HILL* and DeMOSS, Circuit Judges.