United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
MALACHY E. MANNION UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the court are the following motions filed by the
defendant James Eugene Rought (“Rought”): (1)
motion in limine pursuant to Fed.R.Evid. 801 and
802, (Doc. 39); (2) motion in limine pursuant to
Fed.R.Evid. 404, (Doc. 63); (3) motion in limine
pursuant to Fed.R.Crim.P. 16, (Doc. 65); and (4) motion to
dismiss Count I of the superseding indictment pursuant to
Fed.R.Crim.P. 12(b)(3)(B)(v), (Doc. 67). The matters have
been briefed and are ripe for disposition. For the reasons
set forth below, the motions will be GRANTED IN
PART and DENIED IN PART.
October 16, 2018, Rought was indicted with one count of
distribution and possession with the intent to distribute a
controlled substance that resulted in the serious bodily
injury of Cara Giberson and the death of Dana Carichner.
(Doc. 1). Rought pleaded not guilty to the indictment. (Doc.
11). On June 25, 2019, a superseding indictment was filed
against Rought, charging him with an additional count of
possession with the intent to distribute a controlled
substance and one count of conspiracy to possess with the
intent to distribute a controlled substance that resulted in
the serious bodily injury of Ms. Giberson and the death of
Mr. Carichner. (Doc. 48). On June 28, 2019, Rought pleaded
not guilty to the superseding indictment. (Doc. 56).
Motions in Limine
purpose of a motion in limine is to allow the trial
court to rule in advance of trial on the admissibility and
relevance of certain forecasted evidence.” United
States v. Tartaglione, 228 F.Supp.3d 402, 406 (E.D.Pa.
2017) (citation omitted). On a motion in limine,
evidence should only be excluded “when the evidence is
clearly inadmissible on all potential grounds.”
Id. Evidentiary rulings on motions in
limine are subject to the trial judge's discretion
and are therefore reviewed for an abuse of discretion.
Abrams v. Lightolier, Inc., 50 F.3d 1204, 1213 (3d
Cir. 1995); Bernardsville Bd. of Educ. v. J.H., 42
F.3d 149, 161 (3d Cir. 1994). “The Court is vested with
broad inherent authority to manage its cases, which carries
with it the discretion and authority to rule on motions
in limine prior to trial.” Ridolfi v.
State Farm Mutual Auto. Ins. Co., 2017 WL 3198006, *2
(M.D.Pa. July 27, 2017) (citations omitted). Further,
“[c]ourts may exercise this discretion in order to
ensure that juries are not exposed to unfairly prejudicial,
confusing or irrelevant evidence.” Id.
trial court considering a motion in limine may
reserve judgment until trial in order to place the motion in
the appropriate factual context.” United States v.
Tartaglione, 228 F.Supp.3d 402, 406 (E.D.Pa. 2017)
(citation omitted). “Further, a trial court's
ruling on a motion in limine is ‘subject to
change when the case unfolds, particularly if actual
testimony differs from what was contained in the movant's
proffer.'” Id. (citing Luce v. United
States, 469 U.S. 38, 41 (1984)).
Motion to Dismiss
deciding a motion to dismiss, [the court] must accept factual
allegations [in the indictment as true] and disregard legal
conclusions to determine whether the alleged facts constitute
a crime.” United States v. Harder, 168
F.Supp.3d 732, 737 (E.D.Pa. 2016) (citing United States
v. Zauber, 857 F.2d 137, 144 (3d Cir. 1988)). Also, the
court “must dismiss counts based on a statutory
misinterpretation.” Id. at 738 (citing
United States v. Enmons, 410 U.S. 396
(1973) (“dismissing indictment when statute does not
proscribe the conduct charged”); United States v.
Ferriero, 2015 WL 225806, *5 (D.N.J. Jan. 15, 2015)
(“[A] district court must find that ‘a charging
document fails to state an offense if the specific facts
alleged in the charging document fall beyond the scope of the
relevant criminal statute, as a matter of statutory
interpretation.'”). “A motion to dismiss is
‘not a permissible vehicle for addressing the
sufficiency of the government's evidence.'”
Id. (quoting United States v. DeLaurentis,
230 F.3d 659, 660 (3d Cir. 2000)).
United States v. Rankin, 870 F.2d 109, 112 (3d Cir.
1989), the Third Circuit stated,
An indictment is generally deemed sufficient if it (1)
contains the elements of the offense intended to be charged;
(2) sufficiently apprises the defendant of what he must be
prepared to meet; and (3) allows the defendant to show with
accuracy to what extent he may plead a former acquittal or
conviction in the event of a subsequent prosecution.
See also Hamling v. United States, 418 U.S.
87, 117 (1974); United States v. Olatunji,
872 F.2d 1161, 1168 (3d Cir. 1989). The court in
Rankin also stated that “no greater
specificity than the statutory language is required so long
as there is sufficient factual orientation to permit the
defendant to prepare his defense and to invoke double
jeopardy in the event of a subsequent prosecution.”
Rankin, 870 F.2d at 112.
Motion in Limine Pursuant to ...