United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
DALTON JR. United States District Judge.
the Court is the United States' Motion in Limine to Admit
Evidence of Defendant's Prior Tax Liabilities. (Doc. 42
(“Motion”).) Defendant opposed.
(Doc. 43.) The Court orally granted the Motion on October 30,
2017, at Defendant's trial. (Doc. 45.) This Order
memorializes the Court's ruling and briefly summarizes
14, 2017, a federal grand jury returned an Indictment
charging Defendant with tax evasion under 26 U.S.C. §
7201. (Doc. 1.) The Indictment alleges that from January 2002
to July 26, 2011, Defendant “willfully attempted to
evade and defeat the payment of substantial income tax due
and owing . . . for the years 2002 to 2010 by committing
[nineteen] affirmative acts, among others.”
(Id. ¶ 8.) Defendant pleaded not guilty (Doc.
6), and the case was set for trial commencing October 30,
2017 (Doc. 33).
October 20, 2017, the Government filed the Motion seeking to
admit evidence of: (1) Defendant's tax liabilities for
the calendar years 1993-1996 and 1998-2001; and (2) the
IRS's efforts to collect these taxes. (Doc. 42
(collectively, the “Evidence”).)
The Government argued that the Evidence is admissible: (1) as
relevant, intrinsic evidence (“Intrinsic
Evidence Argument”); or, alternatively, (2) as
“other acts, ” extrinsic evidence under Rule
404(b) (“404(b) Argument”).
(See id.) Defendant opposed these arguments and
argued that the Government's notice and production of the
Evidence violated Rule 404(b), the Court's Criminal
Scheduling Order (Doc. 7
(“CSO”)) and Federal Rule of
Criminal Procedure 16 (“Notice
Argument”). (See Doc. 43.)
relevant evidence is admissible unless it falls under an
exclusion rule. Fed.R.Evid. 402. “Relevant” means
having any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is
of consequence in the proceeding more or less probable.
Fed.R.Evid. 401. But relevant evidence may be excluded if its
probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of
unfair prejudice, confusing the issues, misleading the jury,
undue delay, wasting time, or needlessly presenting
cumulative evidence. Fed.R.Evid. 403.
criminal defendant, unfair prejudice “speaks to the
capacity of some concededly relevant evidence to lure the
factfinder into declaring guilt on a ground different from
proof specific to the offense charged.” Old Chief
v. United States, 519 U.S. 172, 180 (1997). “While
it is true that all evidence which tends to establish the
guilt of a defendant is, in one sense, prejudicial to the
defendant, . . . that does not mean that such evidence should
be excluded.” United States v. Norton, 867
F.2d 1354, 1362 (11th Cir. 1989) (internal citation and
alterations omitted). Applying Rule 403, courts must
therefore: (1) balance the evidence's probative value
against its potential for undue prejudice, keeping in mind
the factual and legal context; and (2) exclude it only if its
probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger it
poses. See Old Chief, 519 U.S. 181-84.
type of admissible relevant evidence is
“intrinsic” evidence. See United States v.
Troya, 733 F.3d 1125, 1131 (11th Cir. 2013). Intrinsic
evidence is evidence of a defendant's prior bad acts,
committed outside the period charged in the offense, that is
“inextricably intertwined with the evidence regarding
the charged offense.” See United States v.
Maclean, 227 F. App'x 844, 851 (11th Cir.
2007). Because of its close relationship with the
charged offense, intrinsic evidence may be admissible as
“an essential part of the chain of events”
leading to the charged crime. See United States v.
Fortenberry, 971 F.2d 717, 721 (11th Cir. 1992). In
evaluating whether evidence is intrinsic, courts consider
whether it: (1) “is linked in time and circumstances
with the charged crime; (2) “forms an integral and
natural part of an account of the crime”; or (3)
“is necessary to complete the story of the crime for
the jury.” See Maclean, 227 F. App'x at
852 (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). But
even if it qualifies as intrinsic, the evidence is still
subject to Rule 403's balancing test. See United
States v. Larios-Trujillo, 403 F. App'x 442, 444
(11th Cir. 2010).
Rule 404(b) Evidence
intrinsic evidence, Rule 404 governs the admissibility of a
defendant's prior bad acts or other crimes. If Rule 404
applies, the evidence is considered extrinsic to the charged
offense and it is generally inadmissible when offered to
prove a defendant's character or action in conformity
therewith. See Fed. R. Evid. 404(b)(1). But this
kind of evidence may be admissible if offered to prove
something else, such as the defendant's “motive,
opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity,
or absence of mistake or accident.” Fed R. Evid.
404(b)(2). If the Government offers such evidence for one of
these purposes, then it is admissible under Rule 404(b) if:
(1) it is relevant for one of these alternative purposes; (2)
there is sufficient proof to show that the defendant
committed the prior act; and (3) the government meets Rule
403. See Maclean, 227 F. App'x at 851-52
(internal citation omitted).
these requirements, the Government must also notify the
defendant in advance when it intends to offer 404(b) evidence
at trial. Fed.R.Evid. 404(b)(2)(A)-(B); see United States
v. Perez-Tosta, 36 F.3d 1552, 1561 (11th Cir. 1994).
This is so “to reduce surprise and promote early
resolution on the issue of admissibility.” Id.
When analyzing “the reasonableness of pretrial notice,
” a court considers: “(1) when the [Government]
could have learned of the availability of the evidence; (2)
the extent of the prejudice to the ...