United States v. Jackson, No. 14-3712 (3d Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Before his trial for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, 21 U.S.C. 846, Jackson unsuccessfully moved to suppress evidence of coconspirators’ cellphone calls intercepted as authorized by court orders. The interceptions, pursuant to Title III of the federal Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, comprised a significant amount of the trial evidence, though Jackson was a participant in only a few calls. Intercepted calls were placed and received outside Pennsylvania, but concerned, in part, cocaine trafficking in Pennsylvania. A Pennsylvania state court had authorized wiretaps sought by state law enforcement officers and information obtained from those wiretaps was used in affidavits when federal wiretap orders were sought. Jackson argued that the state court lacked jurisdiction to permit the underlying wiretaps of cellphones outside of Pennsylvania. The Third Circuit affirmed Jackson’s conviction, upholding the denial of the motion to suppress; admission of a case agent’s testimony interpreting the contents of telephone calls; admission of co-conspirators’ testimony about their convictions and guilty pleas for the same crime; and the prosecutor’s mention of a co-conspirator’s Fifth Amendment right not to testify when she was prompted to identify the evidentiary rule that permitted the admission into evidence of what otherwise would have been inadmissible hearsay.