Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Friday, March 04, 2011

Almanzar: District Court Usurped Role of Jury

In U.S. v. Almanzar, No. 10-11481 (March 4, 2011),the Court found that the district court usurped the role of the jury by granting a motion for a judgment of acquittal, after the jury gave a guilty verdict that convicted a defendant of methamphetamine trafficking.

The case involved a woman, Almanzar, who was stopped with her brother, an illegal immigrant, in a truck which contained sealed packages containing methamphetamine. The district court granted a judgment of acquittal based in part on its view that a Hispanic woman would trust blindly her male sibling. But that information was never presented to the jury. Moreover, the jury weighed the evidence, and made the credibility determinations. Sufficient evidence was presented to support the conviction.