Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Laurie

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

November 21, 2017

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Ian Scot Laurie, Defendant.

          ORDER

          David S. Doty, Judge.

         This matter is before the court upon the motion for a new trial and an extended briefing period by defendant Ian Scot Laurie. Based on a review of the file, record, and proceedings herein, and for the following reasons, the court denies the motion.

         BACKGROUND

         On October 26, 2017, a jury convicted Laurie of five counts of distribution of child pornography, and the court denied Laurie's motion for judgment of acquittal. Laurie now moves for a new trial on several grounds and requests an additional thirty days to fully brief the issues.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Standard of Review

         On the motion of a defendant, “the court may vacate any judgment and grant a new trial if the interest of justice so requires.” Fed. R. Cr. P. 33(a). The court has broad discretion to grant a new trial, but should do so “only sparingly and with caution.” United States v. Dodd, 391 F.3d 930, 934 (8th Cir. 2004).

         II. Motion for New Trial

         A. Prejudicial Effect of the Term “Child Pornography”

         Laurie first argues that the court erred in denying his motion to prohibit the use of the term “child pornography” at trial because it was unduly prejudicial and inflammatory. The court disagrees.

         First, the term “child pornography” is a term that accurately describes the pictures and videos Laurie distributed. Second, prohibiting counsel and witnesses from using the term “child pornography” would have unnecessarily distracted the jurors from the evidence. Finally, Laurie provides no case law in support of his theory that the use of “child pornography” or similar terms is so prejudicial as to constitute error.[1] Even assuming that the use of the term “child pornography” is prejudicial, the evidence against Laurie was substantial, and the jury's verdict would have not likely changed even if the term were excluded. See United States v. Bentley, 561 F.3d 803, 810-11 (8th Cir. 2009) (“We have ... declined to reverse the trial court even when terms such as ‘monster, ' ‘sexual deviant, ' and ‘liar' are used, when the weight of the evidence was heavy and there is no reasonable probability that the verdict would have changed absent the comments ....”) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted) (second omission in original). Therefore, a new trial is not warranted on this basis.

         B. Rachel Boggs's Testimony

         Laurie next argues that it was error to allow non-responsive testimony from government witness Rachel Boggs.[2] Laurie contends that Boggs's testimony was prejudicial because she referred to his prior arrest and alleged that he took a salacious and non-consensual photo of her. He further argues that the government's failure to adequately warn Boggs not to testify as to these matters amounts to prosecutorial misconduct.

         The court notes that Laurie failed to object to the testimony and did not move to strike it from the record. Although the court agrees that Boggs's testimony could be deemed non-responsive, it does not believe that it unduly prejudiced the jury. First, the jury was instructed that “the defendant is not on trial for any act or any conduct not specifically charged in the indictment.” ECF No. 100 at 7. The court believes that this instruction was sufficient to ensure that the jury did not improperly consider Boggs's testimony about Laurie's past conduct. Second, as already ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.