United States v. Anekwu

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 09-20-2012
  • Case #: 10-50328
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge N.R. Smith for the Court; Circuit Judges O'Scannlain and Nelson
  • Full Text Opinion

Under the Confrontation Clause, it is not plain error to allow certificates of authentication for foreign public and business records by affidavit.

Appellant, Henry Anekwu, was charged and convicted of fraudulent offenses that involved corporations in Canada targeting US seniors. At trial, Anekwu objected to the Government’s introduction of certificates of authentication, signed by their respective record-keepers, for foreign business and public records, including incorporation records, Canadian bank records, and mailbox applications, and argued they were inadmissible hearsay (and later on their trustworthiness). The motion was denied and documents were all admitted. On appeal, “Anekwu argues that the district court violated his Confrontation Clause rights by admitting evidence of foreign documents by means of written affidavit.” The Ninth Circuit stated, it “cannot conclude that the district court plainly erred by admitting the certificates for the [foreign] incorporation documents” because case law indicates “routine certification by the custodian of a foreign public record would not be testimonial in nature.” The Court “cannot conclude that the district court plainly erred by admitting the certificates for the foreign business records” because the certifications of the mailbox applications and bank records “satisfy the requirements of 18 U.S.C. § 3505(a)(1) [regarding authentication of foreign business records] in substance” and the “certificates authenticated otherwise admissible records;” thus they did not violate the Confrontation Clause. The Court held that the district court did not commit plain error when it admitted certificates of authentication for foreign and public business records into evidence because they are not testamentary. The Court also addressed other contentions regarding the district court’s denial of Anekwu’s “request to inquire into the jury’s racial or ethnic prejudice,” admission of both a summary chart for foreign bank records and underlying records, refusal to provide the jury with the informant credibility instruction, admission of “allegedly improper comments by the [Government],” “re-reading the correct jury instructions,” cumulative errors, consideration of inability to pay restitution, and sentencing of separate, concurrent sentences. AFFIRMED.

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