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United State v. Hampton

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

May 2, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
KENNETH HAMPTON, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          GERALD J. PAPPERT, J.

         On July 7, 2015, a federal grand jury indicted Kenneth Hampton, Ellis Hampton, Terrell Hampton and Roxanne Mason for violations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2, 371, 1343, 1349, and 1028A. (ECF No. 1.) A superseding indictment was filed April 19, 2016, and a second superseding indictment followed on September 20, 2016.[1] (ECF Nos. 86 & 124.) Trial begins on June 1, 2017. On April 6, the Government filed a motion seeking to admit evidence, in the event that Kenneth testifies, of his prior convictions for purposes of impeachment pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 609. (ECF No. 215.) For the following reasons, the Court grants the Government's motion in part and reserves judgment on the remaining issues for trial.

         I.

         The second superseding indictment alleges that Kenneth, Terrell and Mason identified abandoned properties, forged deeds to the properties and then sought to benefit from the properties by, inter alia, using them for housing and defrauding government programs and unsuspecting third-party buyers. They are charged with various counts of wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy.

         According to the Government, Kenneth has “sustained six distinct criminal episodes involving felony convictions.” (Gov.'s Mot., at 2.) These include: (1) Robbery (1980, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas); (2) Conspiracy to Distribute Crack Cocaine, Receipt of Firearm by Felon, Distribution of Cocaine and Mail Fraud (1994, E.D. Pa.); (3) Conspiracy and Aiding and Abetting the Manufacture of Counterfeit Currency (2005, E.D. Pa.); (4) Forgery, Tampering with Records of Identification, Deceptive Business Practices and Possession of Instrument of Crime (2005, Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas); (5) Conspiracy to Commit Theft by Deception (2005, Superior Court of New Jersey); and (6) Conspiracy to Manufacture and Transfer Counterfeit Currency and Manufacturing Counterfeit Currency with Intent to Defraud (2010, E.D. Pa.). (Id. at 3.)

         The Government correctly concedes that the 1980 robbery conviction and the 1994 convictions related to the distribution of narcotics and receipt of a firearm are not admissible under Rule 609. (Id. at 17 n.3.) The Government contends that the 2005 and 2010 convictions relating to the manufacture of counterfeit currency must be admitted pursuant to Rule 609(a)(2). (Id. at 7-12.) Finally, the Government contends that the remaining convictions (1994 mail fraud; 2005 forgery, tampering and deceptive practices; and 2005 conspiracy to commit theft) may be admissible pursuant to Rule 609(a)(1) and asks the Court to reserve ruling on these until trial. (Id. at 12-17.)

         II.

         Federal Rule of Evidence 609 states in pertinent part:

(a) In General. The following rules apply to attacking a witness's character for truthfulness by evidence of a criminal conviction:
(1) for a crime that, in the convicting jurisdiction, was punishable by death or by imprisonment for more than one year, the evidence:
(A) must be admitted, subject to Rule 403, in a civil case or in a criminal case in which the witness is not a defendant; and
(B) must be admitted in a criminal case in which the witness is a defendant, if the probative value of the evidence outweighs its prejudicial effect to that defendant; and
(2) for any crime regardless of the punishment, the evidence must be admitted if the court can readily determine that establishing the elements of the crime required proving - or the witness's admitting - a dishonest act or false statement.
(b) Limit on Using the Evidence After 10 Years. This subdivision (b) applies if more than 10 years have passed since the witness's conviction or release from confinement for it, whichever is later. ...

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