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United States v. Coriz

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

May 10, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
TYRONE CORIZ, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on the following motions: (1) the United States' Omnibus Motion in Limine (ECF No. 82); (2) the United States' Motion for a Lafler-Frye Hearing (ECF No. 84); (3) Defendant's Omnibus Motions in Limine (ECF No. 85); (4) Defendant's Motion in Limine to Prohibit Impeachment by Evidence of Criminal Conviction under Rule 609 (ECF No. 86); (5) Defendant's Motion in Limine to Exclude 404(b) Prior Bad Acts Evidence and Demand for Notice of Intent under 404(b)(2) (ECF No. 87); and (6) Opposed United States' Motion in Limine to Prohibit Discussion of Sentencing or Punishment at Trial (ECF No. 92). The Court, having considered the motions, briefs, evidence, relevant law, and otherwise being fully advised, rules as described herein.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On January 29, 2019, a federal grand jury returned a Superseding Indictment charging Defendant with two counts: aggravated sexual abuse of a minor in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1153, 2241(c), 2246(2)(C), and 3559(e) (Count 1) and aggravated sexual abuse of a minor in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1153, 2241(c), 2246(2)(D), and 3559(e) (Count 2). Count 1 charges Defendant with unlawfully and knowingly engaging in and attempting to engage in a sexual act with Jane Doe, a child who was between 12 and 16 years of age, “by using force, and the sexual act consisted of penetration, however slight, of the genital opening of Jane Doe by a hand or finger of the defendant, with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, arouse and gratify the sexual desire of any person, and the defendant has a prior sex conviction in which a minor was the victim.” Superseding Indictment 1, ECF No. 99. In Court 2, the Government alleges Defendant “unlawfully and knowingly engaged in and attempted to engage in a sexual act with Jane Doe, a child who had attained the age of twelve, but had not attained the age of 16, by using force, and the sexual act consisted of the intentional touching, not through the clothing, of the genitalia of Jane Doe by the defendant, with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, arouse and gratify the sexual desire of any person, and the defendant has a prior sex conviction in which a minor was the victim.” Id. at 1-2, ECF No. 99.

         II. LAW

         Federal Rule of Evidence 401 states that evidence is relevant if “it has any tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence” and “the fact is of consequence in determining the action.” Fed.R.Evid. 401. A court may exclude relevant evidence if its probative value is substantially outweighed by a danger of unfair prejudice or confusion of the issues. Fed.R.Evid. 403. Rule 404(b) prohibits the admission of evidence of crimes, wrongs, or other acts to prove a person's character to show action that conforms to that character, but it allows evidence of other bad acts if admissible for other purposes, such as motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, absence of mistake, or lack of accident. Fed.R.Evid. 404(b).

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. United States' Omnibus Motion in Limine (ECF No. 82)

         The Government requests an order excluding the following categories of evidence at trial: allegations of Government misconduct or constitutional violations; the contents of rulings or pretrial motions filed by the parties; plea negotiations; offers to stipulate; information known only to Defendant which could only be admitted through his sworn testimony; administrative disciplinary findings to impeach a witness; defense exhibits that have not been previously disclosed to Government counsel; and evidence of Defendant's health. Gov.' Mot. 1-3, ECF No. 82. In response, Defendant concurs with the Government's request to preclude evidence of pre-trial rulings, plea negotiations, and defense exhibits. See Def.'s Resp. 2-3, ECF No. 91. Defendant opposes the wholesale exclusion of the other categories of evidence. See id.

         As for allegations of Government misconduct, Defendant states he does not intend to present any evidence regarding the Court's finding that Special Agent Jennifer Sullivan violated his constitutional right to remain silent after invoking his Miranda rights. Id. at 1. Similarly, he is unaware of evidence of administrative disciplinary findings against any Government witnesses. Id. Defendant requests the Court deny the request to exclude evidence of governmental misconduct and administrative disciplinary findings, because should he become aware of such evidence, he should have an opportunity to show its relevance. The Court will deny as moot and/or as unripe the request to exclude evidence of governmental misconduct and administrative discipline. Should any party intend to present such evidence, the party should bring it to the Court's attention prior to introducing it at trial.

         Defendant objects to the request to exclude generally offers to stipulate, noting that he has offered to stipulate to federal jurisdiction, i.e., that he is an Indian and that the location described by the complaining witness is in Indian Country, but the parties have not yet reached an agreement on the language of the stipulation. See Id. at 2. In a separate brief, however, Defendant indicated that he will not stipulate to jurisdiction. See Def.'s Resp. to Mot. for Pre-trial Determination of Indian Country Land Status 2, ECF No. 100. The Court will deny as moot and/or as unripe the request to exclude evidence of stipulations. Should any party intend to present such evidence, the party should bring it to the Court's attention prior to introducing it at trial.

         With respect to information known only to Defendant, Defendant asserts he should be permitted to cross-examine the government's witnesses, that information can have sources through defense investigation, and that he intends to follow the rules of evidence at trial. The Court will deny the request to categorically exclude information known only to Defendant as unripe. The Court can take up objections to specific questions or evidence at trial.

         Finally, Defendant objects to the exclusion of evidence of his mental or physical health should it become relevant to the issue in the case. The Court will deny the request to categorically exclude information of Defendant's health as unripe. The Court can take up objections to specific questions or evidence at trial.

         B. United States' Motion for Lafler-Frye Hearing (ECF No. 84)

         The Government asks the Court to inquire prior to trial whether defense counsel communicated its plea offers to Defendant under Missouri v. Frye, 566 U.S. 134 (2012), and Lafler v. Cooper, 566 U.S. 156 (2012). It points out that at the December 3, 2018 plea hearing, Defendant rejected the Government's plea agreement. The Government wishes to make a record to preclude a future ineffective assistance of counsel claim under ...


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