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United States v. Reed

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

February 16, 2018

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
James Marvin Reed, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          DONOVAN W. FRANK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         INTRODUCTION

         The matter is before the Court on the United States of America's (the “Government”) motion in limine (Doc. No. 58) seeking to admit evidence that the defendant previously sexually assaulted two other victims. Defendant opposes the motion (Doc. No. 66). For the reasons discussed below, the Court grants in part and denies in part the Government's motion.

         BACKGROUND

         The Government has charged Defendant James Reed with one count of Engaging in Illicit Conduct in Foreign Places in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2423(c). Reed, a U.S. citizen, stands accused of engaging illicit sexual conduct in the Philippines with a fourteen-year-old girl, referred to throughout as “Minor A.” According to the Government, Reed met Minor A in 2007 when she was fourteen. (USAO Br. At 2.)[1] Minor A visited Reed approximately ten times from September to December 2007. (Id.) During each visit, the two would engage in sexual intercourse, after which Reed would pay Minor A. (Id.) In 2008, Minor A gave birth to a child. (Id.) The Government contends that it can prove through DNA evidence that Reed fathered the child. (Id.)

         The Government has filed a motion in limine seeking to admit evidence of accusations that Reed previously sexually assaulted two other victims. First, the Government seeks to admit evidence about “Minor B, ” Reed's “biological relative.” (Id. at 4.) Minor B lives in the Philippines. In 2016, Reed allegedly sexually abused Minor B, when she was five or six years old.

         Second, the Government seeks to admit evidence from “Adult 1, ” a “biological relative” of Reed, whom Reed allegedly sexually molested from 1985 until 1995, when Adult 1 was between 8 and 14 years old.[2] Additionally, the Government seeks to have Adult 1 testify that Reed apparently told Adult 1 about his sexual activity with minor girls in the Philippines.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Legal Standard

         A district court is accorded discretion in its evidentiary rulings. United States v. Battle, 774 F.3d 504, 512 (8th Cir. 2014). In this case, the Government contends that the evidence is admissible under Federal Rule of Evidence 413 or 404(b) and should not be excluded by Rule 403. In his opposition, Reed first argues that the Court should limit the evidence about Minor A. Specifically, Reed outlines concerns that the Government will seek to admit nude photos of Minor A taken by Reed.[3] Additionally, Reed argues that the evidence regarding Minor B and Adult 1 is inadmissible under either Rule 413, 404(b), or 403.

         II. Minor A Photos

         Reed argues in his opposition that the Court should exclude evidence and testimony regarding nude photos that Reed allegedly took of Minor A. Reed argues that because the photos do not establish any of the elements of the charged crime, the photos are extrinsic evidence of other misconduct, and therefore must be admissible under Rule 404(b) or 413. See United States v. Buckner, 868 F.3d 684, 688 (8th Cir. 2017). Evidence of other misconduct can be considered intrinsic evidence when it offers context to the charged crimes. Id. “Intrinsic evidence ‘provides a total picture of the charged crime, ' or ‘tends logically to prove [an] element of the crime charged, ' and is subject to testing under regular principles of admissibility. Id. (quoting United States v. Thomas, 760 F.3d 879, 883-84 (8th Cir. 2014) (internal citations omitted)).

         Here, the Court concludes that the photos of Minor A are admissible as intrinsic evidence. The photos are evidence of Reed's state of mind, the nature of the relationship, and the circumstances of the crime. Moreover, the photos go to the credibility of both Reed and Minor A. Thus, the Court concludes that the photos are admissible provided that the Government lays the proper foundation.[4]

         III. ...


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