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United States v. Sanyaolu

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

June 2, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
OLU KANNI SANYAOLU, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          WILLIAM S. DUFFEY JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Olu Kanni Sanyaolu's (“Defendant”) Motion in Limine to Exclude Hearsay Testimony Regarding Fingerprint Evidence [82] (“Motion”).

         I. BACKGROUND

         On April 12, 2016, a grand jury in the Northern District of Georgia returned a three-count Indictment [1] against Defendant, charging Defendant, in Count One, with knowingly procuring, contrary to law, naturalization and citizenship in the United States in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1425(a). The Government later dismissed Counts Two and Three. ([26], [27]).

         On or about April 8, 1998, Defendant, who is a native of Nigeria, was granted asylum in the United States. In 2009, Defendant petitioned for citizenship through naturalization, and, on or about July 20, 2009, citizenship was granted. In March 2014, Defendant traveled to Nigeria. On his way back, on April 21, 2014, Defendant arrived at the Houston International Airport. In the Customs inspections area, an Automated Fingerprint Identification System (“AFIS”) examination of Defendant determined that he was linked to two fingerprint identification numbers-one number for him, and another for Kunle Olukanni. The Olukanni immigration file shows that, in 1992, Mr. Olukanni applied for asylum in New York. Asylum was denied in September 1994. Mr. Olukanni's wife then petitioned for adjustment of his status, and Mr. Olukanni filed a concurrent application to register permanent residence or to adjust status. The applications also did not result in a grant of lawful immigration. As a result, on July 23, 1998, Mr. Olukanni was ordered to be deported.

         On June 17, 2015, Homeland Security Fingerprint Specialist Dean Roan issued a laboratory report regarding comparisons of fingerprint cards, derived from the Alien files (“A-Files”)[1] for Defendant and Mr. Olukanni. The three cards contained fingerprints bearing the names Olu Kanni Sanyaolu, dated May 31, 1997; fingerprints bearing the name Kunle Olukanni, dated July 27, 1995; and fingerprints bearing the name Olukanni, dated August 29, 1992. These fingerprints were also compared against fingerprints bearing the name Olu Kanni Sanyaolu, dated April 20, 2016, and the May 31, 1997 fingerprints bearing the name Olu Kanni Sanyaolu. Mr. Roan determined that the fingerprint impressions on the cards were made by the same person.

         On April 6, 2017, the Government notified the Court that Mr. Roan would not be available to testify at trial, and that Thomas Liszkiewicz, a fingerprint specialist who “verified Mr. Roan's results by completing an independent examination of the fingerprints, ” will testify at trial. Mr. Liszkiewicz conducted two examinations of fingerprint evidence. In the first examination, Mr. Liszkiewicz analyzed and compared the three fingerprint cards derived from the A-Files for Defendant and Mr. Olukanni. In the second examination, Mr. Liszkiewicz compared fingerprints taken from Defendant in April 2016, upon his arrest by HIS Special Agent Gary Thiel, and one of the three fingerprint cards previously examined. Mr. Liszkiewicz determined that the fingerprint impressions were made by the same person.

         On May 25, 2017, Defendant filed his Motion. In it, he seeks to exclude from trial hearsay testimony regarding (i) the derivation of the fingerprints compared, and (ii) the alleged matches of fingerprints determined by automated systems.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Derivation of Fingerprints Compared

         Defendant moves to exclude, as hearsay, testimony regarding the persons from whom the fingerprints were obtained or to whom the fingerprints belong. Hearsay is defined as “a statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.” Fed.R.Evid. 801(c). “Hearsay is inadmissible unless the statement is not hearsay as provided by Rule 801(d) or falls into one of the hearsay exceptions.” United States v. Caraballo, 595 F.3d 1214, 1226 (11th Cir. 2010) (quoting United States v. Baker, 432 F.3d 1189, 1203 (11th Cir. 2005)); Fed.R.Evid. 802.

         1. April 2016 Fingerprints

         The Government will seek to introduce at trial fingerprints taken from Defendant upon his arrest by HIS Special Agent Gary Thiel in April 2016. The Government represents that Agent Thiel will testify at trial that he obtained the fingerprints from Defendant. Agent Thiel's testimony regarding the April 2016 Fingerprints is not hearsay and will be permitted at trial. See Fed.R.Evid. 801.

         2. Fingerprint Cards ...


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