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United States of America v. Michael Henderson

March 1, 2012

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
MICHAEL HENDERSON, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Samuel Der-yeghiayan, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the court on the Government's motions in limine. For the reasons stated below, the court grants the Government's motions.

DISCUSSION

I. Outrageous Government Conduct

The Government seeks to bar argument or evidence relating to outrageous government conduct. Defendant Michael Henderson (Henderson) has not objected to the motion, and the court finds that the motion is proper. See, e.g., United States v. Boyd, 55 F.3d 239, 241-42 (7th Cir. 1995). Therefore, the court grants the Government's motion to bar argument or evidence relating to outrageous Government conduct.

II. Penalties Faced by Henderson

The Government seeks to bar the introduction of evidence relating to the potential penalties faced by Henderson, if convicted. Henderson has not objected to the motion. Evidence relating to the penalties faced by a defendant, if convicted, is not relevant to the jury's determination of a defendant's guilt or innocence, and therefore the introduction of such evidence is barred. See United States v. Lewis, 110 F.3d 417, 422 (7th Cir. 1997)(stating that "the practice of informing juries about the sentencing consequences of their verdicts is strongly disfavored"); Shannon v. United States, 512 U.S. 573, 579 (1994)(stating that a jury must "reach its verdict without regard to what sentence might be imposed" and that "[i]nformation about the consequences of a verdict are irrelevant to a jury's task"). Thus, the court grants the Government's motion to bar the introduction of evidence relating to the potential penalties faced by Henderson, if convicted.

III. Evidence Designed to Illicit Jury Nullification

The Government seeks to bar argument or evidence designed to illicit jury nullification, and the Government has specifically identified certain examples of such argument or evidence, including argument or evidence relating to the Government's motivation for investigating or prosecuting the instant case and argument or evidence relating to Henderson's family needs.

A. General Bar

The Government seeks to generally bar argument or evidence designed to illicit jury nullification. Henderson has objected to the motion. The Government's motion is based on the general prohibition against encouraging jury nullification. See, e.g., United States v. Dunkin, 438 F.3d 778, 780 (7th Cir. 2006); Smith v. Winters, 337 F.3d 935, 938 (7th Cir. 2003). The court grants the Government's motion to generally exclude argument or evidence designed to illicit jury nullification.

B. Motivation for Investigating or Prosecuting the Instant Case

The Government seeks to bar argument or evidence relating to the Government's motivation for investigating or prosecuting the instant case, including argument or evidence that this case was originally charged by the state and argument or evidence that the Government's prosecution of this case is racially motivated. Henderson has not objected to the motion. Argument or evidence relating to the Government's motivation are not relevant to the to the jury's determination of a defendant's guilt or innocence. See, e.g., United States v. Johnson, 605 F.2d 1025, 1030 (7th Cir. 1979); United States v. Goulding, 26 F.3d 656, 667 (7th Cir. 1994). Therefore, the court grants the Government's motion to bar argument or evidence relating to the Government's motivation for investigating or ...


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