United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Eastern Division
R. READER JUDGE.
matters before the court are Defendant Richard Leroy
Parker's “Motion in Limine” (“Defense
Motion”) (docket no. 60) and the government's
“Motion in Limine” (“Government
Motion”) (docket no. 62) (collectively, the
RELEVANT PROCEDURAL HISTORY
August 24, 2017, a grand jury returned an Indictment (docket
no. 2) charging Defendant with one count of distribution of a
controlled substance near a protected location resulting in
death in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1),
(b)(1)(A), (b)(1)(C), 851 and 860(a), and two counts of
possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance
near a protected location in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A), (b)(1)(C), 851 and 860(a).
See Indictment at 1-4. On December 21, 2017,
Defendant filed the Defense Motion. On that same date, the
government filed the Government Motion. On December 27, 2017,
Defendant filed a Response to the Government Motion (docket
no. 74). On December 28, 2017, the government filed a
Resistance to the Defense Motion (“Government
Resistance”) (docket no. 76). On January 11, 2018, the
court held a Final Pretrial Conference, at which the parties
addressed the Motions. See January 11, 2018 Minute
Entry (docket no. 96).
Motions, the parties seek preliminary rulings on several
evidentiary issues. The court will first address the issues
on which the parties agree and those which were addressed by
the court on the record at the Final Pretrial Conference. The
court will then discuss any remaining issues.
Issues Previously Resolved
reasons stated on the record at the Final Pretrial
Conference, the court shall grant the Government Motion in
its entirety. The court shall grant the Defense Motion in
part as to the relief requested in paragraphs 2, 3 and 5. The
court shall also grant in part the relief requested in
paragraph 1 as to any evidence of Defendant's prior
criminal convictions. The Defense Motion paragraph 1 is
denied as to Defendant's 2005 conviction for Robbery,
which is admissible under Federal Rule of Evidence 609.
Defense Motion, Defendant asks that the court exclude
evidence that Defendant “had sexual relations with E.M.
on the night in question.” Motion at 1. Defendant
contends that such evidence is irrelevant and unduly
prejudicial. See Brief in Support of Defense Motion
(docket no. 60-1) at 5-6. Defendant also asks the court to
exclude any statements that E.M. would never date an African
American man. See id. Defendant contends that
evidence on these matters is irrelevant under Federal Rule of
Evidence 401 and unduly prejudicial under Federal Rule of
Evidence 403. The government does not resist the Defense
Motion as to statements that E.M. would never date an African
American man. See Brief in Support of Government
Resistance (docket no. 78-1) at 5. The government resists the
Defense Motion as to Defendant and E.M.'s sexual
relations on the night in question. Id. at 5-7. The
government contends that such evidence is relevant to
“tell the story of E.M.'s condition prior to her
death” and “to any expert's opinion, and the
jury's ultimate determination, of what caused E.M.'s
death.” Id. at 6-7.
Rule of Evidence 402 provides that “[i]rrelevant
evidence is not admissible.” “Evidence is
relevant if: (a) it has any tendency to make a fact more or
less probable than it would be without the evidence; and (b)
the fact is of consequence in determining the action.”
Fed.R.Evid. 401; see also United States v. Mora, 81
F.3d 781, 783 (8th Cir. 1996) (“Relevance of evidence
‘is established by any showing, however slight, that
[the evidence] makes it more or less likely that the
defendant committed the crime in question.'”
(alteration in original) (quoting United States v.
Casares-Cardenas, 14 F.3d 1283, 1287 (8th Cir. 1994))).
Federal Rule of Evidence 403 permits the court to
“exclude relevant evidence if its probative value is
substantially outweighed by a danger of . . . unfair
prejudice, confusing the issues, misleading the jury, undue
delay, wasting time, or needlessly presenting cumulative
evidence.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 403.
questions of relevance, the court is mindful that “[a]
jury is entitled to know the circumstances and background of
a criminal charge.” United States v. Strong,
826 F.3d 1109, 1115 (8th Cir. 2016) (quoting United
States v. Moore, 735 F.2d 289, 292 (8th Cir. 1984)). A
jury “cannot be expected to make its decisions in a
void-without knowledge of the time, place, and ...