United States District Court, E.D. New York
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
Kiyo A. Matsumoto United States District Judge.
March 23, 2018, a grand jury sitting in the Eastern District
of New York returned an indictment charging Rasheda Jadusingh
(“Ms. Jadusingh”) and two co-defendants with
conspiracy to import cocaine and conspiracy to possess
cocaine with intent to distribute. Jury selection and trial on
the indictment are scheduled to begin on February 3, 2020.
The Government filed several motions in limine in
advance of trial. Ms. Jadusingh has not filed any pre-trial
motions. For the reasons set forth below, the
Government's motions are granted in part and denied in
district court's inherent authority to manage the course
of its trials encompasses the right to rule on motions in
limine.” Highland Capital Mgmt., LP. v.
Schneider, 551 F.Supp.2d 173, 176-77 (S.D.N.Y. 2008)
(citing Luce v. United States, 469 U.S. 38, 41 n.4
(1984)). Motions in limine “aid the trial
process by enabling the Court to rule in advance of trial on
the relevance of certain forecasted evidence.”
Palmieri v. Defaria, 88 F.3d 136, 141 (2d Cir. 1996)
(internal quotation marks omitted). The trial court should
only exclude evidence when it is “clearly inadmissible
on all potential grounds, ” United States v.
Paredes, 176 F.Supp.2d 192, 193 (S.D.N.Y. 2001), and the
ruling remains “subject to change when the case
unfolds, particularly if the actual testimony differs from
what was contained in the [movant's] proffer, ”
Luce, 469 U.S. at 41.
Federal Rules of Evidence provide the framework for
determining the admissibility of evidence. “As a
general matter, all relevant evidence is admissible . . .
unless specifically excluded.” United States v.
Perez, 387 F.3d 201, 209 (2d Cir. 2004) (citing
Fed.R.Evid. 402). “[E]vidence is ‘relevant'
if it has ‘any tendency to make the existence of any
fact that is of consequence to the determination of the
action more probable or less probable than it would be
without the evidence.'” United States v.
Abu-Jihaad, 630 F.3d 102, 132 (2d Cir. 2010). (quoting
Fed.R.Evid. 401). Relevant evidence may be excluded “if
‘its probative value is substantially outweighed by a
danger of . . . unfair prejudice, '” United
States v. Bourne, No. 08-CR-888(NGG), 2011 WL 4458846,
at *12 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 23, 2011); Fed.R.Evid. 403, and
irrelevant evidence is never admissible, Fed.R.Evid. 402.
Government moves in limine to (1) preclude Ms.
Jadusingh from introducing what it characterizes as her own
self-serving and false exculpatory statements; (2) preclude
Ms. Jadusingh from mentioning at trial, during jury
addresses, cross-examination, or otherwise, any consequences
she may face upon conviction, whether immigration or penal;
and (3) admit evidence of Ms. Jadusingh's prior attempt
to export cocaine from Jamaica as “other acts”
evidence under Federal Rule of Evidence (“FRE”)
404(b). (ECF No. 79, Government's Motions in
Limine (“Gov't Br.”).) For the reasons
set forth below, the Court grants the Government's
motions to preclude Ms. Jadusingh from introducing her own
self-serving statements or discussing the potential
consequences of her conviction, but the Court denies the
Government's motion to admit evidence of Ms.
Jadusingh's prior attempt to export cocaine from Jamaica
under FRE 404(b).
Motion to Preclude Ms. Jadusingh's “Self-Serving
and False Exculpatory” Statements
Government first asks the Court to “preclude [Ms.
Jadusingh] from introducing, through an opening statement,
cross-examination or otherwise, any of [her] self-serving
post-arrest statements because they are inadmissible hearsay
and are not needed to provide context or a ‘fair and
impartial understanding' of any statement the government
may offer.” (Gov't Br. at 7.) Ms. Jadusingh
“ha[s] no objections to the [G]overnment's motion
seeking to preclude statements made by [her] that the
[G]overnment describes as self-serving and false.” (ECF
No. 130, Defendant's Response to Government's Motions
in Limine (“Def. Br.”), at 1.) The Court
grants the Government's motion.
Federal Rules of Evidence generally exclude as hearsay any
“statement, other than one made by the declarant while
testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to
prove the truth of the matter asserted.” Fed.R.Evid.
801(c); United States v. Marin, 669 F.2d 73, 84 (2d
Cir. 1982) (“In general, hearsay statements are not
admissible at trial.” (citing Fed.R.Evid. 802)). Thus,
a criminal defendant's out-of-court statements, like Ms.
Jadusingh's post-arrest statements, are not admissible
unless permitted by “a federal statute; [the Federal
Rules of Evidence]; or other rules prescribed by the [United
States] Supreme Court.” Fed.R.Evid. 801(c), 802.
rule against hearsay would not bar the [G]overnment
from introducing [Ms. Jadusingh's] statements because
‘[a] statement . . . offered against an opposing party
and . . . [that] was made by the party' is not
hearsay.” United States v. Cooper,
No. 19-CR-159 (ARR), 2019 WL 5394622, at *6 (E.D.N.Y. Oct.
22, 2019) (citing Fed.R.Evid. 801(d)(2)(A) (emphasis added));
see also Marin, 669 F.2d at 84. It would, however,
bar Ms. Jadusingh from introducing her own
post-arrest statements to prove the truth of the matter(s)
asserted. Cooper, 2019 WL 5394622, at *6
(“[T]he rule against hearsay would bar [the defendant]
from introducing his own out-of-court statements offered to
prove the truth of the matter asserted.”);
Marin, 669 F.2d at 84 (“When [a criminal]
defendant seeks to introduce his own prior statement for the
truth of the matter asserted, it is hearsay, and it is not
admissible.”). Ms. Jadusingh would, consequently, not
be entitled to admit her own post-arrest statements by
operation of the rule against hearsay.
the Government plans to introduce only part of Ms.
Jadusingh's post-arrest statements, however, she could
theoretically seek admission of certain post-arrest
statements pursuant to the “doctrine of
completeness.” This doctrine permits the introduction
of hearsay where doing so “is necessary to explain the
admitted portion, to place it in context, or to avoid
misleading the trier of fact, ” Marin, 669
F.2d at 84; see also Fed. R. Evid. 106; United
States v. Thiam, 934 F.3d 89, 96 (2d Cir. 2019),
cert. denied, No. 19-594, 2019 WL 6689707 (U.S. Dec.
9, 2019) (“[T]he rule of completeness ‘is
violated only where admission of the statement in redacted
form distorts its meaning or excludes information
substantially exculpatory of the declarant.'”
(quoting United States v. Benitez, 920 F.2d 1080,
1086-87 (2d Cir. 1990))), with the goal of “ensur[ing]
a ‘fair and impartial understanding' of the
admitted portion, ” Marin, 669 F.2d at 84
(quoting United States v. Capaldo, 402 F.2d 821, 824
(2d Cir. 1968)).
submission, the Government represents that Ms.
Jadusingh's self-serving post-arrest statements are
“not needed to provide context or a ‘fair and
impartial understanding' of any statement the government
may offer, ” rendering them beyond the scope of the
doctrine of completeness. (Gov't Br. at 7.) Ms. Jadusingh
does not contest the Government's assertion, nor does she
offer an alternative evidentiary basis for the admission of
the challenged statements or oppose the Government's
motion at all. In light of the foregoing, the Court grants
the Government's motion to preclude Ms. Jadusingh from
introducing any of her self-serving post-arrest
Motion to Preclude Discussion of the Potential Consequences