United States v. Bryan Kimble, No. 21-3327 (8th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Defendant was convicted of four counts related to the distribution of controlled substances. On appeal, Defendant challenges three evidentiary rulings made by the district court during his trial. He argued that the district court erred in admitting (1) the driver’s license record with his name, address, and photograph; (2) the video and audio recordings from the controlled buys, including the phone calls arranging those buys; and (3) the text messages Special Agent (SA) and Defendant exchanged during the undercover investigation
The Eighth Circuit affirmed. The court explained that this is not a case where the “extra helping of evidence” from the challenged record is “so prejudicial as to warrant a new trial.” The information on the improperly admitted driver’s license record was cumulative of other evidence, and any error from admitting the record is not reversible. Next, the court held that SA’s testimony satisfies the second McMillan factor that he was competent to operate the recording equipment. The court has also held that a recording’s existence itself can establish that the person operating the device was competent to operate the equipment. Further, the court concluded that the government adequately established that the recordings in Government Exhibit 5 were “authentic and correct.” Moreover, the court rejected Defendant’s argument that the government did not sufficiently identify the speakers in the recordings. Finally, the court held that the government laid an adequate foundation to authenticate the text messages.