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United States v. Roberson

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

September 6, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
RICKEY ROBERSON ADA CRAIGE-ROBERSON

         SECTION "N" (3)

          ORDER AND REASONS

          KURT D. ENGELHARDT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is the Government's Motion in Limine to Exclude Improper Evidence at Trial (Rec. Doc. 78), to which two memoranda in opposition were filed (Rec. Doc. 90 and 91). The Court rules on this motion as stated herein.

         In its motion, the Government seeks an order prohibiting the defendants from:

A. referencing professional or personal “good acts” performed by the defendants;
B. eliciting testimony regarding self-serving hearsay statements, which the defendants made to third parties;
C. attempting to use reports authored by law enforcement agents to impeach the Government's witnesses at trial;
D. referring to the penalties faced by the defendants or the hardships that the defendants' convictions would impose on their families or others;
E. attempting to elicit expert testimony regarding the defendants' state of mind; and
F. introducing evidence or arguments regarding race or prosecutorial motives.

(See Rec. Doc. 78-1, pp. 1-2.)

         The defendants agree with, and thus do not oppose, the Government's position with regard to items “D” and “F.” Therefore, the Government's motion is GRANTED as to these two items: (1) counsel shall be prohibited from referencing any penalties faced by the defendants or any hardships that conviction of a defendant would impose on his or her family or others; and (2) counsel shall also be prohibited from introducing evidence or making any arguments or reference regarding race or prosecutorial motives. As for the other items in the Government's motion, the Court rules as follows:

         1. Professional or Personal “Good Acts” Performed by the Defendants

         With regard to the Government's listed item “A”, the Court GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART the motion. In the Indictment, the Government charges that the defendants, operating a non-profit entity known as “Alternatives Living, Inc., ” received federal Community Development Block Grants (“CDBG”) awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) intended to be used to provide rental housing and individualized services to people with severe disabilities. The Government does not maintain that all funds received by the defendants were abused and spent on illegitimate personal items and leisure activities for the defendants. It is difficult to imagine a trial involving this subject matter that would not potentially include a defense that the subject expenses were indeed legitimately spent on “good acts, ” such as ameliorating hardships experienced by people with severe disabilities, rather than for personal, ...


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