United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi
M. BROWN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court in this criminal action is Joe Crawford's
motion in limine. Doc. #42.
August 23, 2018, Joe Crawford was indicted on three counts of
selling firearms to felons, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
922(d) and 924(a)(2). Doc. #1. On November 20, 2018, Crawford
filed a motion for leave to file a motion in limine regarding
the use of certain transcripts at trial. Doc. #37. The
Government did not respond to the motion for leave. Rather,
it filed a response to Crawford's proposed motion in
limine, which was attached as an exhibit to the motion for
leave. Doc. #38.
November 26, 2018, this Court granted Crawford's motion
for leave and allowed him until November 27, 2018, to file a
reply to the Government's response. Doc. #40. Crawford
filed his motion in limine on November 26, 2018. Doc. #42. He
did not file a reply within the time allowed.
Standard of Review
in limine “allow the trial court to rule in advance of
trial on the admissibility and relevance of certain
forecasted evidence.” Harkness v. Bauhaus U.S.A.,
Inc., No. 3:13-cv-129, 2015 WL 631512, at *1 (N.D. Miss.
Feb. 13, 2015). Although neither the Federal Rules of
Evidence nor the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure
“explicitly authorize in limine rulings, the
practice has developed pursuant to the district court's
inherent authority to manage the course of trials.”
Luce v. United States, 469 U.S. 38, 41 n.4 (1984).
As is true with motions in limine in civil cases,
motion in limine in a criminal case should only be granted if
the challenged evidence is shown to be inadmissible on all
possible grounds. United States v. Gibson, No.
2:17-cr-126, 2018 WL 4903261, at *2 (E.D. Va. Oct. 9, 2018);
see United States v. Kistner, No. 2:11-cr-283, 2013
WL 80255, at *3 (S.D. Ohio Jan. 7, 2013) (denying motion in
limine where defendants “failed to demonstrate …
that such evidence is clearly inadmissible on all possible
motion in limine, Crawford seeks to exclude numerous
transcripts of telephone calls between himself and a
confidential human source. Doc. #42 at 2. Crawford argues
that the transcripts are inadmissible because they violate
the best evidence rule and because the quality of the
underlying recordings do not justify the use of transcripts.
As an alternative to exclusion, Crawford asks that the jury
be provided “an appropriate limiting instruction,
” a proposed version of which Crawford submitted
separately to the Court.
Best Evidence Rule
first argues that the transcripts are inadmissible because
“the audio recordings are the best evidence to present
to a jury per [Federal Rules of Evidence] 1002 and
1003.” Doc. #42 at 2.
Rule of Evidence 1002, also known as the “best evidence
rule, ” provides that “[a]n original
writing, recording, or photograph is required in order to
prove its content unless these rules or a federal statute
provides otherwise.” Rule 1003 directs that, in
satisfying this rule, “[a] duplicate is admissible to
the same extent as the original unless a genuine question is
raised about the original's authenticity or the
circumstances make it unfair to admit the duplicate.”
the original tape is available and presented to the jury and
the accuracy of the transcript has been stipulated or is made
an issue for the jury to decide, concerns addressed by the
best evidence rule are not at issue.” United States
v. Chaney, 299 Fed.Appx. 447, 455 (5th Cir. 2008)
(quoting United States v. Holton, 116 F.3d 1536,
1545 (D.C. Cir. 1997)). Here, there is no indication that the
original tape will be unavailable or not presented to the
jury. Furthermore, while it does not appear the accuracy of
the transcripts has been stipulated, any questions of
accuracy will be presented to the jury. Accordingly, the
best evidence rule does not require exclusion and
Crawford's contention to the contrary is rejected.