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United States v. Brown

February 26, 2009

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
MICHAEL BROWN AND TYQUAN MIDYETT, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kiyo A. Matsumoto United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MATSUMOTO, United States District Judge

I. BACKGROUND

The government moves in limine by letter memorandum dated February 13, 2009 to preclude (1) cross-examination of its witness, Robert Griffin, as to two specified instances of prior conduct for which he was not convicted, and (2) introduction of evidence of the disposition of charges against defendants Michael Brown and Tyquan Midyett brought by the Kings County District Attorney's Office, arising from the arrests of Brown and Midyett on January 9, 2007. (Doc. No. 254, "Feb. 13th Gov. Mem.")

Defendant Midyett does not oppose the motion. Defendant Brown opposes the motion by a letter memorandum dated February 16, 2009, arguing that at the very least, a voir dire hearing should be held outside the presence of the jury so that defense counsel may develop a foundation to cross-examine Griffin, and that the government should be directed to provide Brown with records stemming from any criminal prosecution of Griffin that resulted from the specific conduct the government seeks to preclude. (Doc. No. 255, "Feb. 16th Def. Opp." at 1-2.) Brown also argues that evidence of the dismissal of the state charges against Brown and Midyett arising from the January 9, 2007 arrest is relevant and admissible because it will explain why the police returned money seized from Midyett, and will "cast doubt" on the credibility of one of the government's witnesses, Police Officer Rene Samaniego. (Feb. 16th Def. Opp. at 2.)

For the reasons given below, the court grants the motion to preclude cross-examination of Griffin on the two specific instances of prior conduct described in the government's motion and to preclude evidence of the outcome of the state charges arising from the January 9, 2007 arrests of Brown and Midyett.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Factual Background

1. Robert Griffin

According to the government's submissions, government witness Robert Griffin pleaded guilty to a narcotics conspiracy charge on February 6, 2007 and thereafter began cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"). (Feb. 13th Gov. Mem. at 2.) Griffin purchased narcotics at the direction of the FBI, which led to the indictment of defendants Brown and Midyett. (Id.) The government seeks to preclude cross examination of Griffin regarding the following:

(1) When Griffin was 15 or 16 years old,*fn1 he shot an individual named "Country" in the leg with a .32 caliber gun. The shooting occurred after "Country" had robbed Griffin by taking approximately $200.00 and crack cocaine from Griffin. A friend of Griffin's provided Griffin with the gun he used to shoot "Country."

(2) In 2005, Griffin and an ex-girlfriend were involved in an altercation during which Griffin slapped her, grabbed her, and told her to go with him to his apartment. Griffin was arrested and the case was dismissed. During the pendency of the case, a temporary Order of Protection was issued, requiring Griffin to stay away from his ex-girlfriend."

(Id.) Griffin was never arrested for the shooting of "Country," as described in (1) above. (Id. at 5.)

2. The January 9, 2007 Arrests

It is undisputed that defendants Brown and Midyett were arrested on January 7, 2009 inside of Brown's apartment at 125 Nostrand Avenue, Apartment #2A, in Brooklyn, New York, and that the Kings County District Attorney's Office did not pursue prosecution of defendants Brown and Midyett in relation to these arrests. Approximately $1,700 in cash that was seized from Midyett's ...


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