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United States v. North

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

November 21, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
JEFF NORTH, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          WILLIAM S. DUFFEY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Jeff North's (“Defendant”) Notice of Intent to Offer 404(b) Evidence and Impeachment Evidence [92] (the “Motion”).

         I. BACKGROUND

         On May 26, 2016, a grand jury in the Northern District of Georgia returned a three-count indictment [13] charging Defendant with Carjacking in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2119(1) (Count 1); Discharging a Firearm During a Federal Crime of Violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c)(1)(A)(i), (ii), and (iii) (Count 2); and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 9224(e) (Count 3). The Indictment alleges that, on or about March 23, 2015, Defendant shot Johnny Dansby and stole his vehicle.

         On November 6, 2017, Defendant filed the Motion noticing his intent to offer, [1] under Rules 404(b) and 608 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, evidence concerning Dansby's February 2008 conviction for filing a false report of criminal wrongdoing.

         On November 9, 2017, the Court ruled on several motions in limine and motions to exclude evidence or testimony [93]. In that order, the Court held, inter alia, that Defendant was permitted to impeach Dansby based on Dansby's February 2008 conviction. (Id. at 15 n.6).

         On November 16, 2017, the Government responded to the Motion. (See [102]).

         On November 20, 2017, Defendant filed his reply brief [104]. Defendant attached to his reply brief what is purportedly a fifteen-page series of Texarkana, Arkansas police reports detailing Dansby's February 2008 report of being kidnapped while operating a taxi cab, his interview with police following the incident, and the later investigation and arrest for filing a false report (the “Dansby Police Reports”). ([104.1]). Defendant also included what are apparently documents from the Circuit Court of Miller County, Arkansas, detailing Dansby's charge, disposition, and guilty plea (the “Miller County Documents”). ([104.2]). Defendant states no reason why these documents were not attached to the Motion. They should have been.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Defendant seeks to offer evidence of Dansby's 2008 conviction “as both substantive evidence under 404(b) and as impeachment evidence under 608.” ([92] at 1). The Government has conceded that Defendant may properly impeach Dansby based on his 2008 conviction under Rule 609. ([93] at 15 n.6; [102] at 1). Thus, before the Court is only the issue of whether the Dansby Police Reports and the Miller County Documents are admissible. ([104.1-2]).

         A. Legal Standard

         Rule 404(b) of the Federal Rules of Evidence regulates the admission of evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts:

Evidence of a crime, wrong, or other act is not admissible to prove a person's character in order to show that on a particular occasion the person acted in accordance with the character. . . . This evidence may be admissible for another purpose, such as proving motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, absence of mistake, or lack of accident.

Fed. R. Evid. 404. “Although the standard for admission is relaxed when the evidence is offered by a defendant . . . the party advancing the evidence must demonstrate that it is not offered to prove the character of a person in order to show action in conformity therewith.” United States v. Cohen, 888 F.2d 770, 776 (11th Cir. 1989) (internal citation omitted). “In considering whether a defendant should be permitted to introduce extrinsic evidence under Fed.R.Evid. 404(b), a district court should consider whether the evidence bears ‘special relevance' to the defendant's guilt, and whether there are any other practical means by which the defendant could prove his point.” United States v. Aguirre, 368 F. App'x 979, 990 (11th Cir. 2010) (citing Cohen, 888 F.2d at 775-76) (holding, in tax evasion case, that district court did not abuse its discretion by excluding extrinsic evidence that government witness filed fraudulent ...


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