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United States v. Green-Bowman

United States District Court, Eighth Circuit

December 27, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
PATRELLE JOSE GREEN-BOWMAN, Defendant.

ORDER

LINDA R. READE, Chief District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

The matters before the court are the government's "Motion for Ruling Pursuant to Rule 104" ("Government Motion") (docket no. 43) and Defendant Patrelle Jose Green-Bowman's "Motion Pursuant to Rule 104" ("Defense Motion") (docket no. 44) (collectively, "Motions").

II. RELEVANT PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On October 9, 2013, the government filed a two-count Superseding Indictment (docket no. 6) against Defendant. The Superseding Indictment charges that, on or about August 2, 2013, Defendant knowingly possessed a firearm after having been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2) and such firearm was not registered to Defendant in violation of 26 U.S.C. §§ 5845(a), 5861(d) and 5871. On December 16, 2013, the government filed the Government Motion. Also on December 16, 2013, Defendant filed the Defense Motion. On December 23, 2013, the court held a final pretrial conference at which it heard argument on the Motions. See December 23, 2013 Minute Entry (docket no. 55). Also on December 23, 2013, Defendant filed a Resistance to the Government Motion (docket no. 56), and the government filed a Resistance to the Defense Motion (docket no. 60).

III. ANALYSIS

A. Government Motion

In the Government Motion, the government requests that the court admit testimony from an officer regarding an incident from August 2011 in which the officer allegedly saw Defendant in possession of a handgun after running from police. The government also seeks to admit a certified judgment of conviction for Defendant's misdemeanor charge of carrying weapons that sprang from the August 2011 incident. Finally, the government also seeks to admit testimony from two lay witnesses who would testify that they have seen Defendant with firearms in Waterloo before. The government argues that this evidence is admissible pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b) to show Defendant's knowledge, intent and absence of mistake or accident. See Brief in Support of Government Motion (docket no. 43-1) at 4-5.

Rule 404(b) provides that evidence of other crimes is not admissible to show a defendant's propensity to commit crime; however, such evidence may be admissible for purposes "such as proving motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, absence of mistake, or lack of accident." Fed.R.Evid. 404(b)(2). "[Rule 404(b)] is a rule of inclusion, such that evidence offered for permissible purposes is presumed admissible absent a contrary determination." United States v. Johnson, 439 F.3d 947, 952 (8th Cir. 2006). The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has adopted a four-factor test to determine the admissibility of Rule 404(b) evidence:

To be admissible, Rule 404(b) evidence "must (1) be relevant to a material issue raised at trial, (2) be similar in kind and close in time to the crime charged, (3) be supported by sufficient evidence to support a finding by a jury that the defendant committed the other act, and (4) not have a prejudicial value that substantially outweighs its probative value."

Id. (quoting United States v. Kern, 12 F.3d 122, 124-25 (8th Cir. 1993)). The court will examine each of these factors in turn.

1. Prior conviction

First, evidence that Defendant "possessed a firearm on a previous occasion is relevant to show knowledge and intent." United States v. Walker, 470 F.3d 1271, 1274 (8th Cir. 2006); see also United States v. Halk, 634 F.3d 482, 487 (8th Cir. 2011) (holding that evidence of the defendant's two prior firearms offenses was relevant to show knowledge and intent where the defendant was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm).

Second, Defendant's possession of the firearm in August 2011 is also similar in kind and close in time to the current charged offense. Previous possession of a firearm is nearly identical to the issue of whether Defendant possessed the firearm as charged in the Superseding Indictment and, therefore, evidence that Defendant had previously possessed a firearm is similar in kind. Moreover, the August 2011 incident occurred only two years prior to the charged offense. See United States v. Shillingstad, 632 F.3d 1031, 1035 (8th Cir. ...


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