United States District Court, N.D. Illinois
March 17, 2004.
UNITED STATES, Plaintiff;
RICHARD CARMEN, Defendant
The opinion of the court was delivered by: RONALD GUZMAN, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Defendant Richard Carmen seeks disclosure of any specific instances
of misconduct the government will use to impeach him under Fed.R.Evid.
608(b) should he testify at trial. In response, the prosecution points
out that Rule 608(b) contains no notice provision. Further, "[n]o rule or
rationale guarantees the defense advance knowledge of legitimate
impeachment before it calls a witness." United States v. Baskes,
649 F.2d 471, 477 (7th Cir. 1980). (Government's Consolidated
Response, at 7)
In point of fact, plaintiff is not seeking evidence that the government
intends to use, as Rule 608(b) does not delineate evidence that the
government may actually use in court or introduce at trial, so much as
types of conduct which may be inquired about on cross examination of
defense witnesses. The rule specifically states that prior instances of
conduct being used solely to attack a witness' credibility may not be
proven by extrinsic evidence, but only inquired into during cross
examination if they relate to the witness' character for truthfulness. It
is, therefore, not evidence that the defense seeks by this motion, but
rather insight into what the government knows about the defendant's prior
conduct and how it intends to use this knowledge
at trial. The Court agrees with the government that this goes too
far. Further, the information at least as to the prior conduct,
if not the government's intention to use it is easily available
to the defense from the defendant himself. Finally, any particular
instances which the defense objects to can be brought to the court's
attention in a motion in limine.
For the reasons stated above defendant's motion for disclosure of
Rule 608 evidence of character and conduct is DENIED.
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