US v. Marvin Goodson

Filing 920090323

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UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 08-4511 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee, v. MARVIN MAURICE GOODSON, Defendant - Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, at Charlotte. Robert J. Conrad, Jr., Chief District Judge. (3:06-cr-00380-RJC-1) Submitted: January 30, 2009 Decided: March 23, 2009 Before WILKINSON and Senior Circuit Judge. MICHAEL, Circuit Judges, and HAMILTON, Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion. Claire J. Rauscher, Executive Director, Matthew R. Segal, FEDERAL DEFENDERS OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA, INC., Asheville, North Carolina, for Appellant. Gretchen C. F. Shappert, United States Attorney, Adam Morris, Melissa L. Rikard, Assistant United States Attorneys, Charlotte, North Carolina, for Appellee. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. PER CURIAM: Marvin Maurice Goodson was convicted of one count of armed bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2113(d) (2000), and one count of brandishing a firearm in the commission of that robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 924(c)(1)(A)(ii) (2000). He received a 156-month sentence. Goodson argues on appeal that the district court erred in rejecting his Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), challenges to the Government's peremptory strikes rulings. of three black jurors and erred in two evidentiary Finding no error, we affirm. The Equal Protection for a Clause forbids the use of a peremptory challenge racially discriminatory purpose. Batson, 476 U.S. at 86. This court affords great deference to a district court's determination of whether a peremptory challenge was exercised for a racially discriminatory reason and reviews the district court's rulings on that point for clear error. Jones v. Plaster, 57 F.3d 417, 421 (4th Cir. 1995). Generally, a Batson challenge consists of three steps: (1) the defendant (2) makes the a prima facie offers case a of racial discrimination; Government race-neutral explanation for its strikes; and (3) the trial court decides whether the defendant has carried its burden and proved purposeful discrimination. 767-68 (1995). See Purkett v. Elem, 514 U.S. 765, However, once the Government has offered a race2 neutral explanation for the peremptory challenge and the trial court has ruled on the ultimate question of intentional discrimination, "the preliminary issue of whether the defendant had made a prima facie showing becomes moot." York, 500 U.S. 352, 359 (1991). inquiry rationale does for not the require strike that be Hernandez v. New This second step of the Batson the Government's or even proffered plausible. persuasive Purkett, 514 U.S. at 767-68. Further, the proffered reason need not be worthy of belief or related to the issues to be tried or to the prospective juror's ability to provide acceptable jury service. Jones, 57 F.3d at 420. All that is required is that the reason be race-neutral. Purkett, 514 U.S. at 768. Here, the prosecutor explained that she struck a black female juror on account of her occupation as a private investigator, gun ownership, and her maternal relationship to a convicted criminal. The Government also struck two black males, and the prosecutor explained that she struck one on account of his occupation as an attorney and his prior experience with the criminal justice system and the other on account of his inattentiveness to the proceedings and his demeanor. At the second step of the Batson inquiry, occupation, relationship to a convicted criminal, experience with the criminal justice system, and demeanor and attentiveness are legitimate race-neutral reasons to strike. See Smulls v. Roper, 535 F.3d 853, 867 (8th 3 Cir. 2008) v. (occupation Johnson, 54 legitimate F.3d reason 1163 to strike); (4th Cir. United 1995) States 1150, (relationship to one involved in criminal activity provides a proper basis to strike); United States v. Wilson, 867 F.2d 486, 487-88 (8th Cir. 1989) (upholding the strike of a juvenile court social worker who had experience working with police officers and defense lawyers); United States v. Lorenzo, 995 F.2d 1448, 1454 (9th Cir. 1993) (lack of attentiveness a neutral reason to strike). provides a Additionally, permissible a potential upon juror's to gun ownership See basis which strike. Hernandez, 500 U.S. at 360 (noting that unless a discriminatory intent is inherent in the prosecutor's explanation, the proffered reason will be deemed race-neutral). By articulating race-neutral reasons for the strikes, the Government satisfied its burden at the second step of the analysis. If steps one and two are met, the trial court must then decide whether the Government's explanation is pretextual and whether the opponent of the strike has met his burden of proving purposeful discrimination. The defendant must "show both that [the Government's stated reasons for a strike] were merely pretextual and that race was the real reason for the strike." 1994). relevant United States v. McMillon, 14 F.3d 948, 953 (4th Cir. In making this showing, the "defendant may rely on all circumstances to raise 4 an inference of purposeful discrimination." (internal "point to Miller-El v. Dretke, 545 U.S. 231, 240 (2005) marks omitted). juror of The another defendant race who need was not not quotation an identical peremptorily challenged." (4th Cir. 2008). Golphin v. Branker, 519 F.3d 168, 179 Rather, "direct comparisons between similarly Id. situated venire-persons of different races" are probative. at 179-80 (internal quotation marks omitted). Goodson did not identify similarly situated venire members who were not peremptorily challenged, see Golphin, 519 F.3d at 179, or otherwise establish that race was the real reason for the Government's strikes. Accordingly, the district court did not err in concluding that the Government's strikes did not violate Batson. Next, Goodson challenges as a violation of Fed. R. Evid. 404(b) the district court's admission of evidence that Batson committed the of v. a prior robbery. court's under 132 Fed. We review for abuse on of the See 1997). discretion admissibility United district evidence Queen, determination R. Evid. 995 404(b). Cir. States F.3d 991, (4th Under Rule 404(b), evidence of other crimes is not admissible to prove bad character or criminal propensity. Fed. R. Evid. 404(b). Such evidence is admissible, however, to prove "motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, or absence of mistake or accident." 5 Id.; see Queen, 132 F.3d at 994. An "inclusive" rule, Rule 404(b) allows the admission of evidence of other crimes or acts except those which tend to prove only criminal disposition. Evidence of prior See Queen, 132 F.3d at 994-95. is admissible under Rules crimes 404(b) and Fed. R. Evid. 403 if the evidence is: (1) relevant to an issue other than the defendant's general character; (2) necessary; (3) reliable; and (4) the probative value of the evidence effect. is not substantially outweighed by its prejudicial Queen, 132 F.3d at 997. An acceptable purpose for evidence of other crimes is to prove the immediate context, or res gestae, of the case. 83, 86 (4th Cir. 1980). are intimately See United States v. Masters, 622 F.2d Other bad acts are admissible when they with and explanatory of the crime connected charged so that their proof is appropriate to complete the story of the crime. Id. A limiting jury instruction explaining the purpose for admitting evidence of prior acts and advance notice of intent to introduce evidence of prior acts provides additional protection to defendants. In this case, a Queen, 132 F.3d at 997. informant housed with jailhouse Goodson testified that Goodson admitted to the commission of a previous robbery and had learned lessons from his mistakes during the previous robbery, such as how not to get caught and that if he robbed the bank on his own, no co-defendants would testify against him. The Government 6 filed a notice of its intent to use this evidence pursuant to Rule 404(b). The district court permitted the informant's testimony upon finding it was relevant to Goodson's plan and preparation and completed the story of the robbery with which he was charged by explaining how Goodson's commission of the charged robbery was informed by his mistakes in the prior that robbery. the prior Further, robbery there was was no suggestion from Goodson any more sensational or disturbing than the one with which Goodson was charged. Accord United States v. Boyd, 53 F.3d 631, 637 (4th Cir. 1995) (holding that no unfair prejudice is present when the prior act is no more sensational or disturbing than the crimes with which the defendant was charged). The district court also conducted a balancing analysis and issued a limiting instruction to the jury. On these facts, we conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting evidence of the prior robbery. Goodson also alleges error in the district court's exclusion of testimony from an Assistant United States Attorney ("AUSA"). Here, the jailhouse informant also testified that, during their incarceration together, Goodson had shown him a page of a plea agreement listing penalties Goodson would have faced had he signed the agreement. The district court struck this testimony sua sponte and instructed the jury to disregard it. Believing that the informant was lying about the existence 7 of a proposed plea agreement, Goodson sought to call an AUSA to testify that the United States Attorney's Office had not offered Goodson refused a plea agreement in this that case. the The district court this request, noting informant's testimony concerning the existence of a plea agreement was purely about a collateral matter and that it had already struck the informant's testimony that Goodson had shown him a page of that agreement listing penalties. Goodson also contends that the district court's ruling violated Fed. R. Evid. 608(b) and his constitutional right to present a defense. Fed. R. Evid. 608(b) states in relevant part that "[s]pecific instances of the conduct of a witness, for the purpose of attacking or supporting the witness' character for truthfulness . . . may not be proved by extrinsic evidence." We conclude, however, Rule 608(b) is not implicated in this case, as Goodson sought to introduce the testimony of a third party, the AUSA, to give testimony on the question that did not implicate the conduct of the informant. 608(b) was implicated, we would Moreover, even if Rule that the district conclude court's exclusion of the testimony of the AUSA did not run afoul of the Rule. Finally, constitutional right although to a criminal evidence defendant in his has a present favor, see, e.g., United States v. Moussaoui, 382 F.3d 453, 471 (4th Cir. 8 2004), "a defendant's right to present a defense is not absolute; criminal defendants do not have a right to present evidence that the district court, in its discretion, deems irrelevant or immaterial." United States v. Prince-Oyibo, 320 F.3d 491, 501 (4th Cir. 2003) (citing Taylor v. Illinois, 484 U.S. 400, 410 (1988) ("The accused does not have an unfettered [Sixth Amendment] right to offer testimony that is incompetent, privileged, or otherwise inadmissible under the standard rules of evidence.")). Therefore, if the district court acted within its discretion in excluding irrelevant or immaterial evidence offered by a defendant, the exclusion did not violate his constitutional rights. In this case, the district court properly ruled that the informant's testimony concerning the plea agreement was collateral to the charges in this case. Because the district court acted within its discretion in so ruling, the exclusion of the AUSA's testimony did not violate Goodson's constitutional right to present a defense. We therefore affirm the district court's judgment. dispense with oral argument because the facts and We legal contentions are adequately presented in the materials before the court and argument would not aid the decisional process. AFFIRMED 9

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