COCAINE: A WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION essays

, 221 F.3d 140 (5th Cir. 2000), , 532 U.S. 959 (2001). Members of organization seeking toliberate Texas from federal influence are tried, by feds, for conspiracy to useweapons of mass destruction. Prosecution calls FBI agent who explains whybotulism, rabies, and HIV fall within statutory definition of "biologicalagent." . Agent was BiologyProgram Manager in Hazardous Materials Response Unit within FBI, held Ph.D. inhuman genetics, had done post-doctoral work on viral replication at HarvardMedical School, and had authored eleven or twelve relevant publications. His testimony that relevant toxins were "biological agents" pertainedto scientific knowledge and satisfied . Defendants' contraryarguments are meritless. Moreover, even if this testimony wereinadmissible, district court's failure to exclude it would be harmless error.

Fentanyl Hitting Boston Like "Weapon of Mass Destruction"

, 207 F.3d 84 (1st Cir. 2000). Ex-con is found in Maine with Smith & Wesson shotgun and charged withpossession by felon of firearm having traveled in interstate commerce. Smith & Wesson has manufacturing plants in Massachusetts, Ohio, and Maine. To prove that weapon traveled in interstate commerce, and was not manufacturedin Maine, prosecution offers ATF agent who opines that weapon was made inMassachusetts. On voir dire and cross-examination, agent states that basesfor his opinion includes telephone conversation with Smith & Wesson'sresident historian, technical manuals from manufacturer, and notes and recordsmaintained by agent and ATF reflecting information gathered over time re weaponsmanufacturing locations. Defendant objects that testimony is primarilyreliant on information gleaned in telephone conversation with Smith & Wessonand is hearsay cloaked as expert opinion. District court overrulesobjection and defendant is convicted. . Standard of review is deferential, ATF agent had extensive experience in area,and phone conversation with Smith & Wesson historian simply verified opinionalready formed. Consultation of markings on gun is not prerequisite totestimony re origins, and even if it were, district court could conclude thatagent did base testimony partly on markings on gun. Requiring productionof underlying records consulted by agent would reinstate misguided "bestevidence" notions that was intended to relax. Moreover, district court arguably had discretion to conclude that telephoneconversation was information of type reasonably relied on by experts in agent'sfield.


Methamphetamine : a terrorist weapon of mass destruction

, 360 F.3d 48 (1st Cir. 2004). In trial of defendant charged with possession of firearm by felon,prosecution witness testifies that weapon moved in interstate commerce. Defendant objects that witness was not designated as expert in prosecution'spretrial disclosures. District court overrules objection and juryconvicts. . Testimony was lay opinion, notexpert opinion, because it was based on witness's personal visit toMassachusetts plant where weapon was manufactured, and because witness'sconclusions were derived "from a process of reasoning familiar in everydaylife."