United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Oxford Division
MEMORANUM OPINIONAND ORDER
MICHAEL P. MILLS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause comes before the court on the motion in limine  of
the Government in support of the use of prior bad act
evidence under Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b).
defendant, Angela Roy, is charged with aiding and abetting an
Assault with Intent to Rob a Postal Employee under 18 U.S.C.
2114(a) and Using and Discharging a Firearm during a Crime of
Violence under 18 U.S.C. 924(c). The Government alleges that
Roy was involved in an incident in Randolph, Mississippi, on
September 23, 2016, during which a Postmaster was robbed and
shot while working at the Randolph Post Office.
Government seeks to introduce the testimony of three separate
individuals against Roy as evidence of prior acts or wrongs.
First, the Government seeks to introduce the testimony of
Thomas Scott, Roy's co-defendant in the alleged crimes.
Second, the Government seeks to introduce the testimony of
Sylvia Massey, an individual whose car Scott and Roy
allegedly burglarized. Finally, the Government seeks to
introduce the testimony of Michael Brazell, whom the
Government identifies as a former boyfriend of Roy.
Rule of Evidence 404(b) states that evidence of crimes,
wrongs, or other acts “is not admissible to prove a
person's character, ” but that it “may be
admissible for another purpose, such as proving motive,
opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity,
absence of mistake, or lack of accident.” Fed.R.Evid.
404(b)(1)-(2). In order for prior crimes or wrongs to be
admissible, the prosecutor must (1) provide reasonable notice
of the general nature of any such evidence that will be
utilized at trial, and (2) the notice must be made before
trial. Fed.R.Evid. 404(b)(2).
United States v. Beechum, the Fifth Circuit laid out
the test to determine if evidence is admissible under this
standard. 582 F.2d 898, 911 (5th Cir. 1978). Under
Beechum, a court must determine: (1) if the evidence
is “relevant to an issue other than the defendant's
character;” and, (2) that the probative value of the
evidence is not substantially outweighed by its undue
prejudicial effect. Id.
Rule 404(b), the Government (1) must provide reasonable
notice of the general nature of any such evidence that the
prosecution intends to offer at trial, and (2) must provide
notice to the Defendant of its intent to use the evidence
prior to trial. Fed.R.Evid. 404(b)(2). In the present cause,
the Government provided notice to the Defendant of the
general nature of the testimony regarding prior crimes and
wrongs by filing the instant motion in limine prior to trial.
As such, the Government has met the standard outlined in Rule
404 on providing notice to the Defendant.
Beechum, the Government must also prove that the
testimony of each of the three individuals in question is
relevant to some issue other than just the Defendant's
character, and that the evidence has more probative value
than prejudicial effect.
Government asserts that the testimony of Thomas Scott will be
used to identify Roy as the female with him during the
Randolph Post Office incident, the burglary of Sylvia
Massey's car, and in the Walmart surveillance footage.
His testimony, while assuredly prejudicial against the
Defendant Roy, is extremely probative with respect to the
identification of Roy at the scene of the incident at
question. With respect to the testimony of Scott, the
probative value outweighs the prejudicial effect. The Court
grants the testimony of Scott as admissible under Rule 404(b)
to establish the identification and opportunity of Roy, but
not for character evidence.
Roy and Thomas Scott purportedly burglarized Sylvia
Massey's car on September 22, 2016- only one day prior to
the incident at the Randolph Post Office. Among the items
allegedly stolen from the car are Massey's clothing and
checks, both of which prove important to identifying Roy.
Massey's testimony, according to the Government, will be
used primarily to identify certain jewelry and other items
stolen from her car, some of which appear in the Walmart
surveillance footage. This testimony holds much more
probative value than prejudicial effect regarding ...