United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING
GOVERNMENT'S MOTION IN LIMINE TO EXCLUDE REFERENCES TO
CONCLUSIONS REACHED IN UNITED STATES v. EASLEY
MATTER is before the Court on the Government's Motion in
Limine to Preclude any Direct or Indirect reference
to the conclusions reached in United States v.
Easley, filed November 16, 2018 (Doc.
73). Defendant did not file a
Government requests that the Court prohibit any argument (1)
referring to United States v. Easley, 293 F.Supp.3d
1288 (D.N.M. 2018) or its conclusions; (2) referring to SA
Perry's approach of introducing himself as an officer who
is checking for security as “misleading”; (3)
asserting that SA Perry's encounter with Defendant would
make a reasonable person of color feel that they were not
free to decline or terminate the encounter, and (4) asserting
that SA Perry encounters passengers based on race.
Categories above are irrelevant.
Government argues that the above categories are irrelevant to
any issue at trial. The Court agrees. Evidence is relevant if
it “tends to make the existence of any fact” of
consequence to the determination of the action more probable
or less probable than it would be without the evidence.
Fed.R.Evid. 401; United States v. Mendoza-Salgado,
964 F.2d 993, 1006 (10th Cir. 1992).
the Court notes that while the above arguments may be
appropriate for a motion to suppress, no motion to suppress
or selective enforcement motion was filed. Legal arguments
more suited to these motions have no place at trial, as they
do not tend to make any fact of consequence to the
determination of guilt or innocence more or less probable.
Government seeks to exclude references to United States
v. Easley, 293 F.Supp.3d 1288 (D.N.M. 2018), in which
the district court concluded that a person of color would
feel coerced (and therefore seized) by SA Perry. After the
Government filed this motion, the Tenth Circuit reversed
Easley, reasoning that the race is irrelevant to the
reasonable person Fourth Amendment seizure analysis.
United States v. Easley, No. 18-2020, 2018 WL
6787561, at *5 (10th Cir. Dec. 26, 2018) (“We reject
Ms. Easley's argument that we should consider subjective
characteristics like race as part of our reasonable person
analysis.”). Therefore, that ground cannot be presented
to the jury as a basis for acquittal. Moreover, legal
conclusions from another case involving SA Perry are not
appropriate topics before the jury. Finally, whether
Defendant felt pressured to consent to the search is relevant
to a motion to suppress, not to trial.
Defendant has not said whether he will assert at trial that
SA Perry targeted him because of his race. Whether Defendant
was targeted because of his race is not relevant to any issue
Government also seeks to exclude any reference to the fact
that SA Perry was “misleading” when he said he
was there for security or was a police officer. The Court
agrees that this is irrelevant to any issue at trial. Both
the Tenth Circuit and this Court have rejected arguments that
SA Perry was misleading on these grounds. United States
v. Easley, No. 18-2020, 2018 WL 6787561, at *4 (10th
Cir. Dec. 26, 2018) (“It is not at all clear that such
a statement rises to the level of a misrepresentation that
would create a coercive environment.”); United
States v. Fernandez, No. 17-CR-3237-JAP, 2018 WL
4901214, at *5 (D.N.M. Oct. 9, 2018); U.S. v.
Jimenez, Cr. No. 17-2381-JCH, 2018 WL 770385, *5 (D.N.M.
Feb. 7, 2018).
Unfair prejudice under Fed.R.Evid. 403.
the statements and evidence above were relevant, any
probative value is substantially outweighed by danger of
unfair prejudice, confusing the issues, or misleading the
jury. Fed.R.Evid. 403.
is unfairly prejudicial if “it provokes an emotional
response in the jury or otherwise tends to affect adversely
the jury's attitude …wholly apart from its
judgment” as to liability. United States v.
Rodriguez, 192 F.3d 946, 951 (10th Cir. 1999) (quoting
United States v. Roberts, 88 F.3d 872, 880 (10th
Cir. 1996)). Here, the categories above would either provoke
an emotional response by the jury, or adversely affect the
jury's attitude, wholly apart from whether Defendant is
guilty or innocent.
reasons stated above, the Government's motion is