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Business records are generally admissible absent confrontation not because they qualify under an exception to the hearsay rules, but because—having been created for the administration of an entity's affairs and not for the purpose of establishing or proving some fact at trial—they are not testimonial.
Melvin Towns was charged with conspiracy to manufacture 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and to possess and distribute pseudoephedrine knowing that it would be used to manufacture methamphetamine. He was further charged with furthering the conspiracy by purchasing large quantities of pseudoephedrine to be used in manufacturing methamphetamine. At trial, the Government offered pseudoephedrine purchase logs from various retailers (Walgreens, Wal-Mart, Target, and CVS) to highlight a pattern of movement and purchase implicating Towns in the conspiracy. The log spreadsheets were admitted through the police officer who had received the records and their certifying affidavits from the records custodians of the companies that ran the pharmacies. Towns had filed a motion in limine to exclude the records, arguing that the same were introduced in violation of the business records exception to the hearsay rule and the Sixth Amendment's Confrontation Clause. The district court denied Towns’ motion. The government then offered several witnesses to prove the existence of the conspiracy. Co-conspirators confirmed Towns’ involvement in the plan to manufacture methamphetamine and testified that he acquired pseudoephedrine pills for their operation. Towns was subsequently convicted by a jury. In his motion for a new trial, Towns reurged that the records were both improperly admitted as business records and violated his right to confront the witnesses against him. The motion was denied. Thereafter, the district court found that Towns was ineligible for a safety valve sentence reduction and that the court was required to sentence him to a mandatory sentence of 120 months. He timely appealed both the conviction and the sentence.
Were the pseudoephedrine purchase logs introduced in violation of the business records exception to the hearsay rule and the Sixth Amendment's Confrontation Clause?
The Court held that the purchase records were properly admitted as business records under Fed. R. Evid. 803(6) because of the qualifying affidavits offered to the court. Because the affidavit of a record custodian was sufficient to lay the foundation for a business record, there was no need to have individual cashiers from each of the pharmacies testify. Moreover, the Court held that the pseudoephedrine purchase logs were admissible without violating Towns' Sixth Amendment right to confrontation because having been created to comply with state regulatory measures and not for the purpose of establishing or proving some fact at trial, they were not testimonial. It had not been clear error to find that Towns had not provided truthful information. Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed.