United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi
M. BROWN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Crawford was charged in a superseding indictment with two
counts of knowingly selling a firearm to a confidential
informant who is a convicted felon, in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 922(d). In response to a Rule 404(b) notice by the
Government, Crawford moved in limine to exclude evidence that
he sold firearms to two men-Derrick Williams and Darren
Scott-with knowledge that the men were convicted felons.
Because Crawford's prior sale of firearms to Williams may
be admissible to show an organized scheme, intent to sell to
a felon, and absence of mistake by Crawford, and further is
not precluded by Rule 403, the motion in limine will be
denied as to Williams. However, because the Government's
response to the motion in limine did not address any sales to
Scott by Crawford, the motion in limine will be granted as to
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, a 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
grounds'”) (citing Luce, 469 U.S. at 41
Rule of Evidence 404(b) governs the admissibility of evidence
of crime, wrongs, and other acts. Subsection 404(b)(1)
provides that “[e]vidence of a crime, wrong, or other
act is not admissible to prove a person's character in
order to show that on a particular occasion the person acted
in accordance with the character.” Subsection
404(b)(2), however, directs that such “evidence may be
admissible for another purpose, such as proving motive,
opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity,
absence of mistake, or lack of accident.” At the
defendant's request, the prosecutor “must …
provide reasonable notice of the general nature of any such
evidence that the prosecutor intends to offer at trial; and
… do so before trial-or during trial if the court, for
good cause, excuses lack of pretrial notice.”
Fed.R.Evid. 404(b)(2)(A). Once a court determines that
evidence is admissible under Rule 404(b), “the only
remaining question is … whether the probative value of
the uncharged … evidence [is] substantially outweighed
by its undue prejudice under Rule 403.” United
States v. Smith, 804 F.3d 724, 736 (5th Cir. 2015).
terms, Rule 404(b) contains two requirements for
admissibility in a criminal case: (1) the prosecutor must
have provided sufficient and timely notice of its intent to
use the evidence, and (2) the evidence must be admissible for
a purpose other than showing the defendant's character.
See Fed. R. Evid. 404 advisory committee's note
to 1991 amendments (“[T]he notice requirement serves as
condition precedent to admissibility of 404(b) evidence
than requiring pretrial notice, … Rule 404(b) states
no specific time limits in recognition of the fact that what
constitutes reasonable notice will depend largely on the
circumstances of each case.” United States v.
Charles, 3 F.3d 436, 1993 WL 346909, at *3 (5th Cir.
Aug. 11, 1993). Cases involving multiple defendants or
complex counts necessarily require more notice than simpler
cases involving single defendants. Id. Generally,
“two to three weeks notice [is] sufficient, but a
longer period may be appropriate depending on the
circumstances ….” United States v.
Falkowitz, 214 F.Supp.2d 365, 393 (S.D.N.Y. 2002). Here,
in this single-defendant case, the Government provided notice
to Crawford approximately three weeks before trial.
Accordingly, Rule 404(b)'s timeliness requirement was
the substance of the notice, Crawford argues the
Government's notice is deficient for including “no
law or analysis as to why the subject other bad acts evidence
… is admissible under the … law [or]
specific[ity] in time, date, or location.” The law is
clear, however, that such information is not required under
Rule 404(b). See United States v. Rusin, 889 F.Supp.
1035, 1036 (N.D. Ill. 1995) (rejecting request for details
regarding Rule 404(b) notice). Accordingly, the
Government's disclosure was sufficient to satisfy Rule
404(b)'s notice requirements.