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United States v. Felton

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division

February 15, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
DERRICK FELTON (01)

          HANNA MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          RULING AND REASONS

          JAY C. ZAINEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is a “Motion in Limine” (Rec. 93). Defendant Derrick Felton moves for an order to instruct the attorney for the government and his/her representatives and witnesses to refrain from making any direct or indirect reference whatsoever at trial, of any other extraneous crimes or misconduct by the accused or other defense witnesses until the Court holds a hearing outside the presence of the jury. The purpose of the hearing would be to determine if the testimony is admissible: (1) for impeachment purposes pursuant to Federal Rules of Evidence Rule 609; (2) as an exception to Rule 404(b); or (3) pursuant to Rule 403.

         In response, the government informs the Court that it intends to introduce Felton's two (2) prior felony drug convictions pursuant to Federal Rules of Evidence 404(b), and/or if the defendant testifies, pursuant to Rule 609. Attached to the government's response are minutes that reflect Felton's two (2) felony convictions as follows: (1) Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute;[1] and (2) Possession with Intent to Distribute Schedule II Controlled Dangerous Substances.[2] The government requests that the Court allow the introduction of the two prior convictions both pursuant to Rule 404(b) and if the defendant chooses to testify, pursuant to Rule 609.

         The Instant Indictment

         Felton was indicted along with two other individuals for multiple drug trafficking crimes including conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. The facts that led to the indictment involved three (3) suspicious packages that were shipped from Los Angeles, California to Lafayette, Louisiana. A United States Postal Service employee observed the suspicious packages and contacted law enforcement. After an alert was made by a drug detection K-9, a search warrant was obtained and executed.

         The three (3) packages contained approximately eighteen pounds of methamphetamine. Felton's fingerprints were on cooking pans found inside the packages. After further investigation, law enforcement was able to determine through financial records that Felton had been in Los Angeles, California during the time of the shipment. The investigation further revealed that Felton's IP address was used to check on the progress of the packages.

         Rule 404(b)

         Rule 404(b) of the Federal Rules of Evidence provides the following:

         (b) Crimes, Wrongs, or Other Acts.

(1) Prohibited Uses. Evidence 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.
(2) Permitted Uses; Notice in a Criminal Case. This evidence is admissible for another purpose, such as proving motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, absence of mistake, or lack of accident. On request by a defendant in a criminal case, the prosecutor must:
(A) provide reasonable notice of the general nature of any such evidence that the prosecutor intends to offer at trial; and
(B) do so before trial - - or during trial if the court, for good cause, excuses lack of ...

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