Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Norris: Legal Orchids Are Part of Sentence

In U.S. v. Norris, No. 04-15487 (June 23, 2006), the Court affirmed a sentence imposed on an offender convicted of importing orchid species from Peru into the United States in violation of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).
The defendant claimed that the market value assigned to the orchids was erroneous, because it was on the market value of the orchid shipments in their entirety, rather than on the market value of the orchids that had been undocumented in the the CITES permits accompanying each shipment. Rejecting this argument, the Court noted that the defendant tried to avoid customs’ detection of the undocumented orchids by mixing them in the same shipment with large quantities of documented orchids. "[T]he legally imported orchids were an integral part of the conspiracy." Consequently, the legal orchids were part of the "relevant conduct," and was appropriately considered in setting sentence.