United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division
case is scheduled for trial on May 14, 2018 (doc. 146), and
several pre-trial evidentiary motions are before the Court.
Docs. 161 & 171. The Court directed the defendants to
disclose whether they opposed the Government's request
that several proposed exhibits be recognized as
self-authenticating. Doc. 170. Both defendants have
responded, indicating that they do not oppose the
Government's request. Doc. 172 (Natson response); doc.
(Scott response). Accordingly, the Government's request
is GRANTED as unopposed. Doc. 161. The
following evidence, more fully described in the
Government's motion, is deemed self-authenticating such
that no extrinsic evidence of authenticity is required for
(1) the video from the SunTrust Bank on October 14, 2016,
(2) Verizon and T-Mobile phone records, and
(3) data copied from two cellular phones.
the Court directed defendants to indicate whether or not they
opposed the Government's first motion in limine,
it has filed a second. See doc. 171. The trial
schedule once again dictates that these requests, like the
first, be handled with dispatch. As discussed more fully
below, the requests are provisionally granted. Of necessity,
evaluating these requests required reliance on general
principles, and not consideration of specific pieces of
proffered evidence and targeted objections. They thus merely
provide a prophylactic against the introduction of subjects
that could “irretrievably affect the fairness of the
trial.'” Benson v. Facemeyer, 2017 WL
1400558 at * 1 (N.D.Ga. April 19, 2017 (quoting Soto v.
Geico Indem. Co., 2014 WL 3644247, at * 1 (M.D. Fla.
July 21, 2014)). Any ruling on the admissibility of
particular evidence or testimony is thus deferred to the
District Judge at trial. See Id. (citing Ohler
v. United States, 529 U.S. 753, 758 n. 3 (2000))
(“Limine rulings are provisional rulings, and the trial
judge may reverse the decision during the course of a
Hearsay Evidence and Insanity Defense
of the Government's arguments appear to seek nothing more
than an assurance that familiar and longstanding rules of
evidence and criminal procedure will apply. See Id.
at 1-3. The rules concerning the limited admissibility of
hearsay will, of course, apply. See Fed. R. Evid.
801-806. The application of Fed. R. Crim. P. 12.1 to this
proceeding is similarly clear -- the pre-trial motions
deadline has long passed and defendants have not sought leave
to file a late insanity-defense notice. Insanity evidence may
thus be excluded. See Fed. R. Crim. P. 12.2(d)(2).
The Government's requests to exclude hearsay and either
defendant's assertion of an insanity defense, therefore,
Government's motion notes that Defendant Scott has listed
Allyson Wood, the Bureau of Prisons' psychologist who
prepared a report on his competency to stand trial in this
matter (doc. 136), among his potential witnesses. Doc. 171 at
3 (citing doc. 168). The Government seeks to exclude any
testimony she might provide in support of an insanity defense
or any other expert testimony on his mental condition bearing
on his guilt, because he failed to provide the required
notice. See Id. at 2-3 (citing Fed. R. Crim. P.
12.2(a) (requiring notice of intent to assert insanity
defense); Fed. R. Crim. P. 12.2(b) (requiring notice of
intent to introduce expert evidence “relating to a
mental disease or defect or any other mental condition . . .
bearing on . . . the issue of guilt.”)). To the extent
that Scott intends to solicit testimony from Dr. Wood for any
purpose covered by Rule 12.2, the Government's motion is
Government also seeks to preclude Defendant Natson from
offering any expert testimony at trial because no such expert
was disclosed during reciprocal discovery. Doc. 171 at 4. The
Government moved for reciprocal discovery, and the parties
informed the Court that all obligations had been complied
with or resolved by agreement. See doc. 96 (Motion);
doc. 113 (Order); see also Fed. R. Crim. P.
16(b)(1)(C) (requiring Natson to disclose expert witnesses in
order to comply with his reciprocal discovery obligations).
Among the remedies for a party's failure to discharge his
discovery obligations is that the Court may “prohibit
that party from introducing the undisclosed evidence.”
Fed. R. Crim. P. 16(d)(2)(C). Defendant Natson has not
submitted a proposed witness list, so it is not clear whether
any of his proposed witnesses are excludable under the Rule.
Accordingly, the Government's motion is
GRANTED, to the extent that Defendant Natson
intends to call an undisclosed expert witness within the
meaning of Rule 16.
Government requested that the defendants, respectively,
disclose their intent to assert an alibi defense. Doc. 171
(citing docs. 95, 114, & 115); see also Fed. R.
Crim P. 12.1 (requiring notice of intent to assert alibi
defense in response to Government request). Defendant Natson
responded that he “does not intend to rely upon an
alibi defense and therefore has no information to
disclose” pursuant to the Government's request.
Doc. 125. Defendant Scott did not file any response and the
Government proffers that he made none. See doc. 171
at 4-5. A defendant's failure to comply with a Rule 12.1
request is grounds for the Court to “exclude the
testimony of any undisclosed witness regarding the
defendant's alibi, ” but “does not limit the
defendant's right to testify.” Fed. R. Crim. P.
12.1(e). Accordingly, the Government's request is
the Government seeks to preclude Defendant Natson from
offering any evidence that was not disclosed in reciprocal
discovery. Doc. 171 at 5. The Government proffers that Natson
provided no response to its request for reciprocal discovery.
Id. Thus, he should ...