Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Manigault

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

August 9, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
MARK MANIGAULT

          MEMORANDUM

          SURRICK, J.

         Presently before the Court are Defendant Mark Manigault's Motion in Limine to Limit Testimony and Video Evidence (ECF No. 155), and the Government's Response in opposition thereto (ECF No. 156). For the following reasons, Defendant's Motion will be denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On February 16, 2017, a grand jury returned a one-count Indictment charging Defendant with being a felon in possession of a firearm, specifically, a nine-millimeter semiautomatic handgun with serial number TC028448, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). (Indictment, ECF No. 4.) Defendant's trial is currently scheduled for September 30, 2019. (5/23/2019 Order, ECF No. 147.)

         Defendant, who is proceeding pro se with court-appointed standby counsel, has filed more than twenty pretrial motions. With the instant Motion, Defendant seeks to preclude the Government from introducing: (1) any evidence, including videotape evidence, relative to Tamir Austin, the individual who was with Defendant at the time of the events that led to Defendant's arrest and Indictment in this case; and (2) testimony by Philadelphia Police Officers Eugene Roher and Jeremy Olesik regarding their participation in or roles with the tactical squad of the 18th District or their alleged knowledge of or prior contact with Defendant and Austin. Defendant contends that both categories of evidence should be excluded as not relevant under Federal Rule of Evidence 401, and as substantially more prejudicial than probative under the balancing test of Rule 403.

         The circumstances relevant to the instant Motion are as follows.[1] On the night of September 27, 2016, Officers Roher and Olesik were on patrol in a marked police vehicle in the area of the 5400 block of Osage Avenue. (11/14/2018 Hr'g Tr. 24-25, 110, ECF No. 106 (on file with Court).) While on patrol, the officers saw Defendant and Austin sitting on the steps outside the front of a residence at 5407 Osage Avenue. (Id. at 25-26, 113.) At that time, Officers Roher and Olesik were partners assigned to the tactical squad of the 18th District. (Id. at 19, 21, 107.) As members of the tactical squad, the officers' duties included "address[ing] issues of concern in the area, such as robberies, shootings, [and] drug sales." (Id. at 19.) This entailed collecting intelligence on criminal activity and "becom[ing] familiar with the people in the area that [were] committing crime, [and] familiar with the locations that certain individuals associated together." (Id. at 19; see also Id. at 106-07.) The officers testified that Defendant and Austin were both known to them as individuals associated with criminal activity who had previous contact with law enforcement. (Id. at 22-23, 107-10.)

         Officers Roher and Olesik were surprised to see Defendant and Austin sitting together because, based on the officers' experience, the two men were associated with two different groups that engaged in drug sales-Defendant with a group on Delancey Street, and Austin with a group on Irving Street. (Id. at 23, 26-27, 108-09, 113.) In addition, the officers knew that neither Manigualt nor Austin lived on the 5400 block of Osage Avenue. (Id. at 90, 113.) The officers drove past the two men and made eye contact with them. (Id. at 28; 11/15/2018 Hr'g Tr. 20, ECF No. 107 (on file with Court).) The officers then circled the block in their vehicle and, when they returned to the 5400 block of Osage Avenue, Defendant and Austin were sitting on a wall near the front of the Katnip Bar, which is located on 54th Street near the intersection with Osage Avenue. (11/14/2018 Hr'g Tr. 28-29, 114.) The officers stopped their car, walked over to Defendant and Austin, and began speaking with them. (Id. at 29-30, 115.) Defendant and Austin each lifted their shirts to reveal that they did not have any weapons in their waistbands. (Id. at 30, 115.) Officer Olesik briefly returned to the police car and determined by a computer search that there were no active warrants for Defendant or Austin. (Id. at 30-31, 115.)

         As Officer Olesik continued to talk with Defendant and Austin, Officer Roher walked back toward the location where the officers had first seen the two men and, using a flashlight, looked under the wheel wells of vehicles parked on the street.[2] (Id. at 115.) While doing so, Officer Roher saw the black handle of a handgun in the rear, passenger side wheel well of a black Mazda parked facing west on the north side of Osage Avenue. (Id. at 31-32, 116, 119; 11/15/2018 Hr'g Tr. 23.) Upon finding the gun, Officer Roher notified Officer Olesik, and the officers placed Defendant and Austin in the back of their police car. (11/14/2018 Hr'g Tr. 31-33, 116-17.) Both officers walked back to the car where Officer Roher had observed the first gun, then continued retracing the route Manigault and Austin had taken. (Id. at 34-35.) The officers then saw a second firearm in the front, passenger side wheel well of a different vehicle, a red Ford. (Id. at 34-35, 47, 49, 117.) Officer Roher testified that he believed there was one car parked between the black Mazda, where the first gun was located, and the red Ford, where the second gun was found. (Id. at 117-18.) He testified that both vehicles were approximately five to ten feet away from the location where the officers initially saw Defendant and Austin sitting together. (Id. at 118.) Officers Roher and Olesik did not remove either gun from the locations where they observed them. (Id. at 69, 118.)

         Officer Roher then went into the Katnip Bar and viewed the videotape from a security camera at the front exterior of the premises ("Katnip 1 Video"). (Id. at 33-34, 36, 118; Gov't Ex. 15.) The officers testified that the Katnip 1 Video shows Austin and Manigault walking on Osage Avenue, then Austin placing an object under the rear, passenger side wheel well of the black Mazda. (11/14/2018 Hr'g Tr. 33-34, 36, 118-19.) Austin and Defendant then continued walking out of the view of the Katnip 1 Video. (Id. at 119.) After calling other police personnel to secure the scene, Officers Olesik and Roher transported Defendant and Austin to the Southwest Detective Division for further investigation.[3] (Id. at 38-39, 119-20.)

         In the early morning hours of September 28, 2016, Detective Dennis Slobodian of the Southwest Detective Division arrived at the scene and recovered the two handguns and the Katnip 1 Video.[4] (11/15/2018 Hr'g Tr. 64, 67, 69, 74-75.) Detective Slobodian also recovered a second video ("Katnip 2 Video"), which depicts the corner of 54th Street and Osage Avenue in front of the Katnip Bar. (Id. at 79-80; Gov't Ex. 16.) The Katnip 2 Video shows Defendant and Austin walking by, then shows Officers Roher and Olesik exiting their vehicle and walking toward the two men, and later shows the officers walking Defendant and Austin to the officers' car. (11/15/2018 Hr'gTr. 26-27.)

         On September 29, 2016, Southwest Detectives recovered a third video from the night of September 27, 2019, obtained from a digital recorder at a private residence in the 5400 block of Osage Avenue (the "Residence Video"). (Id. at 123-26; Gov't Ex. 17.) Officer Roher testified that the Residence Video shows Defendant and Austin walking together, then Austin placing an object on the tire of the black Mazda where the officers located the first firearm, then Defendant placing an object in the front, passenger side wheel well of the red Ford where the second firearm was found. (11/15/2018 Hr'g Tr. 15-19.) Approximately two minutes later, the video shows the officers' vehicle passing Defendant and Austin as they sat on the steps in front of 5407 Osage Avenue, then the Defendant and Austin walking on Osage Avenue toward 54th Street, then the officers' vehicle returning to the 5400 block of Osage Avenue, where the officers approached Defendant and Austin in front of the Katnip Bar. (Id. at 19-21.) Officer Roher testified that the Residence Video later depicts him walking down the street with his flashlight, observing the first handgun and returning to notify Officer Olesik, then the officers placing Defendant and Austin in the back of their patrol car, then Officer Roher doing another walk through and locating the second gun. (Id. at 22-24.)

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A. Relevance

         Rule 401 broadly defines evidence as relevant if: "(a) it has any tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence; and (b) the fact is of consequence in determining the action." Fed.R.Evid. 401; see also United States v. Green,617 F.3d 233, 251 (3d Cir. 2010). "Rule 401 's definition of relevance is 'very broad' and 'does not raise a high standard."' United States v. Leake, 396 Fed.Appx. 898, 903 (3d Cir. 2010) (quoting Gibson v. Mayor and Council of City of Wilmington,355 F.3d 215, 232 (3d Cir.2004)). Pursuant to Rule 402, all relevant evidence is admissible unless otherwise provided by the U.S. Constitution, a federal statute, or the Rules. Fed.R.Evid. 402. Moroever, "evidentiary relevance under Rule 401 [is not] affected by the availability of alternative proofs" of the element of the offense to which the evidence pertains. Old Chief v. United States,519 U.S. 172, 179 (1997). In other words, otherwise relevant evidence is not rendered irrelevant simply because other related evidence ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.