The opinion of the court was delivered by: B. Lynn Winmill Chief Judge United States District Court
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER ON MOTION IN LIMINE
The Court has before it Defendant's Motion in Limine and Alternative Motion to Suppress (Dkt. 53). Defendant seeks to exclude evidence of a prior arrest and guilty plea under Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b). He also seeks to prevent the Government from using his guilty plea to a prior crime as impeachment evidence under Federal Rule of Evidence 609(a). Alternatively, Defendant moves to suppress evidence obtained during the prior arrest under Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1961). The Court conducted an evidentiary hearing on October 25, 2011 and now issues its decision.
Defendant Arreola-Beltran is charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. The Government alleges that in March 2011, Arreola-Beltran arranged for the sale of methamphetamine to an undercover detective. Trial is scheduled for October 31, 2011.
The Government indicates that at trial, it will seek to introduce evidence related to Wilberto Lozada-Olmo's March 2008 arrest for trafficking in methamphetamine, as well as Lozada-Olmo's guilty plea to possession of methamphetamine. At the evidentiary hearing in this case, it was established that Lozada-Olmo and the Defendant before this Court -- Mr. Arreola-Beltran -- are the same person.
1. Evidence of Prior Bad Act Under Rule 404(b)
Evidence of prior bad acts is not admissible to show that the defendant has a bad
character and is prone to criminal activity, but may be introduced to show motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, or absence of mistake or accident. Fed. R. Evid. 404(b). To prove that the evidence is offered for one of these reasons, the Government must show that the evidence:
(1) proves a material element of the current offense,
(2) if admitted to prove intent, is similar to the offense charged,
(3) is based on sufficient evidence, and
(4) is not too remote in time.
United States v. Ramirez-Robles, 386 F.3d 1234, 1242 (9th Cir. 2004). The Government must also show that the evidence satisfies Federal Rule of Evidence 403 such that its probative value is not outweighed by its prejudicial effect. Id.
At the evidentiary hearing before this Court, Caldwell Police Corporal Kristopher Finley testified that on the night of March 1, 2008, he was on patrol with the Street Crimes Unit in an area known for drug deals, when he saw two Hispanic males talking at the window of a car stopped in the middle of the road. The two men -- later identified as Wilberto Lozada-Olmo and Jasihel J. Beltran-Alcala -- looked in the officer's direction and then took off running.
Corporal Finley followed the men to another intersection and called the men back. He saw Lozada-Olmo make a throwing motion, downward to his right, with his right hand. Corporal Finley says that the men made him nervous because they had "shifty" body movements -- "they kept looking around as if someone was lurking nearby or as if they were looking for a place to run." Also, Beltran-Alcala turned his back to the officer several times, and seemed to be "messing with something under his jacket."
After asking the men for identification, Corporal Finley called for backup and asked the men to put their hands on his car so he could "Terry pat" them. He found $800 in cash in Lozada-Olmo's pocket.
Shortly after finding the cash, Corporal Finley saw that Beltran-Alcala -- who had turned his back to Corporal Finley -- drop a baggie filled with a white crystal substance and kick it under Corporal Finley's car. The officers found four baggies under the car, each containing roughly one ounce of methamphetamine.
Both men were charged with trafficking in methamphetamine under Idaho Code § 37-2732B(a)(4). In June 2008, Lozada-Olmo pled guilty to possession of methamphetamine, but failed to appear for sentencing. Lozada-Olmo indicates that he has ...