United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
Malachy E. Mannion United States District Judge.
of relevant background, on March 13, 2018, defendant Anthony
Diaz was charged in a Superseding Indictment with seven
counts of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1343,
and four counts of mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§1341. (Doc. 44).
March 20, 2018, Diaz was arraigned and pled not guilty to all
counts against him in the Superseding Indictment.
7, 2018, Diaz filed a motion seeking, in part, to strike
surplusage from the Superseding Indictment. (Doc. 55). Diaz
moved to strike allegations in the indictment regarding his
alleged misrepresentations to his clients about his
employment history and, regarding his suspension and
debarment from acting as a broker to sell investment products
by regulatory authorities. Diaz contended that the stated
information should be stricken to protect him against
prejudicial allegations that were not relevant and material
to the charges contained in the indictment.
25, 2019, the court issued a Memorandum and Order, (Docs. 80
& 81), and denied Diaz's motion to strike. The court
found that the challenged allegations in the indictment were
relevant to the elements of the charged offenses of wire and
mail fraud, and that they were related to the facts that the
government indicated that it would establish at trial.
December 24, 2019, Diaz filed a motion in limine,
(Doc. 98), seeking to preclude the government from offering
at trial evidence of his alleged prior bad acts and/or other
wrongs as detailed in several paragraphs contained in the
indictment. Diaz simultaneously filed his brief in support.
January 2, 2020, the government filed its brief in opposition
to Diaz's motion in limine. (Doc. 100).
trial in this case is scheduled to commence on January 13,
motion in limine is filed pursuant to Fed.R.Evid.
404(b) and 403. The motion also seeks, in part, to exclude
evidence as irrelevant. It is axiomatic that
“irrelevant evidence is not admissible.”
Fed.R.Evid. 402. Evidence is relevant if “it has any
tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it would
be without the evidence” and if “the fact is of
consequence in determining the action.” Fed.R.Evid.
401. Even if evidence is relevant, the court can exclude it
if “its probative value is substantially outweighed by
a danger of one or more of the following: unfair prejudice,
confusing the issues, misleading the jury, undue delay,
wasting time, or needlessly presenting cumulative
evidence.” Fed.R.Evid. 403.
Rule of Evidence 404(b)(1) precludes the admission of other
crimes, wrongs, or acts “to prove the character of a
person in order to show conformity therewith”. However,
under Rule 404(b)(2), such evidence is admissible for
legitimate evidentiary purposes such as “proof of
motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge,
identity, or absence of mistake.”
404(b) is a rule of general exclusion ....” United
States v. Repak, 852 F.3d 230, 240 (3d Cir. 2017)
(citing United States v. Caldwell, 760 F.3d 267, 276
(3d Cir. 2014); United States v. Brown, 765 F.3d
278, 291 (3d Cir. 2014) (“Rule 404(b) is generally a
rule of exclusion.”)). As such, “Rule 404(b)
directs that evidence of prior bad acts be
excluded-unless the proponent can demonstrate that
the evidence is admissible for a non-propensity purpose
[i.e., not to show the defendant's propensity to behave
in a certain manner].” Id. (citing
Caldwell, 760 F.3d at 276) (emphasis original).
Thus, “Rule 404(b) is a rule of exclusion, meaning that
it excludes evidence unless the proponent can demonstrate its
admissibility, but it is also ‘inclusive' in that
it does not limit the non-propensity purposes for which
evidence can be admitted.” Id. at 241.
Repak, id., the Third ...