Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Monday, March 14, 2011

Gamory: Life Sentenced for Drug Dealer

In U.S. v. Gamory, No. 09-13929 (March 11, 2011), the Court affirmed drug trafficking and money laundering convictions, and a sentence of life imprisonment.

The Court rejected Gamory’s argument that he was wrongly denied a Franks hearing regarding the falsity of an affidavit that supported an application for a search warrant. The Court explained that even if the statement in the affidavit was false, there other evidence that supported probable cause for the warrant.

Reviewing the issue for “plain error,” the Court rejected the challenge to the district court’s admission of a rap video during the trial. The Court recognized that it was error to admit the video in evidence, because the lyrics contained violence and profanity, and was not clearly probative of Gamory’s guilt. Moreover, a reference to “hush money” in the video was hearsay, because the government claimed that it was introduced for its truth, i.e. that the “hush money” evidenced that Gamory was a drug dealer. But the error in admitting the video was harmless, because of other evidence, including testimony from several of Gamory’s co-conspirators, corroborated by surveillance, and drug ledgers.

The Court rejected Gamory’s Batson challenge to jury selection, finding that the prosecutor gave race-neutral reasons (e.g. one juror had difficulty reading) that the defendant failed to rebut.