Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Defense Question of Government Witness Was Manifest Necessity to Grant Mistrial, Order New Trial

U.S. v. Davis, 2014 WL 486234 (2/7/14) (Okl.) (unpub'd) - There was manifest necessity for the district court to grant the government's mistrial motion and have a new trial where defense counsel asked Mr. Davis's wife, a government witness, about her living with a sex offender. The defense point was that the wife was willing to risk losing her kids to live with the sex offender, showing how badly she wanted to get rid of Mr. Davis and be with someone else. But there wasn't evidence living with the sex offender caused her to lose custody. The Court was impressed with how conscientious and measured the district court was: considering a jury instruction alternative and even waiting until the next day to finally decide. The Court deferred to the district court's ability to assess the participants' demeanor and the trial atmosphere.