United States District Court, C.D. California
MICHAEL CERNYAR GEORGINA WAKEFIELD, DFPD JILL GINSTLING, DFPD Attorneys for Defendants.
CRIMINAL MINUTES - GENERAL
CHRISTINA A. SNYDER, District Judge.
Proceedings: (IN CHAMBERS/REDACTED): GOVERNMENT'S MOTION IN LIMINE TO PRECLUDE EVIDENCE OF VICTIMS' ALLEGED SEXUAL BEHAVIOR (Dkt. No. 101, filed September 5, 2014)
On August 22, 2013, a federal grand jury charged defendant Sharilyn K. Anderson and her son, co-defendant Joshua Davis, with offenses related to alleged sex trafficking. Dkt. No. 12. On September 26, 2013, a superseding indictment was filed against Davis and Anderson. Dkt. No. 132. The superseding indictment charges the defendants with conspiring to sex traffic a minor ("Victim 1") and conspiring to sex traffic an adult ("Victim 2") by force and coercion, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1594(c). Id . It further charges Davis with four substantive counts of sex trafficking Victim 1 and Victim 2, in violation of 18. U.S.C. §§ 1591(a)(1); and one count of transporting Victim 1 in interstate commerce for the purpose of engaging in prostitution, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2423(a). Finally, it charges Anderson with aiding and abetting Davis with sex trafficking of Victim 1 and Victim 2, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1591(a)(1), (a)(2). Id . A trial in this matter is currently set for March 10, 2015.
On September 5, 2014, the prosecution filed a motion in limine to preclude any evidence of any victim's alleged other sexual behavior or predisposition pursuant to Federal Rules of Evidence 412 and 403. Dkt. No. 101. On January 16, 2015, Anderson filed an opposition. Dkt. No. 158. Anderson also filed an in camera and under seal supplemental brief and proffer of the evidence she seeks to admit. Dkt. No. 162. The Court held a hearing on the motion on January 26, 2015. As discussed below, defendant has not yet filed a formal Rule 412(c) motion. After considering the parties' arguments, the Court finds and concludes as follows.
The government moves to preclude defense counsel "from seeking to elicit, from any witness, evidence offered to prove that any victim allegedly engaged in other sexual behavior, to include post-offense sexual behavior, as well as any post-offense behavior related to prostitution, or of any alleged sexual predisposition on the part of any victim in this case." Dkt. No. 101 at 3.
In opposition, Anderson states that she "does not seek to offer evidence of any alleged sexual predisposition' on the part of the alleged victims, " or evidence "offered to prove that any [alleged] victim engaged in other sexual behavior." Dkt. No. 158 at 1. Anderson represents that she does, however, "intend to introduce evidence relating to false statements about post-offense behavior relating to prostitution" and made by Victim 2. Id . Specifically, Anderson asserts that Victim 2 "has lied repeatedly by falsely denying since at least July 2013 that she has continued to offer her services as a prostitute." Id. at 2. In her in camera proffer, Anderson provides more details of the evidence she seeks to introduce, and the theory under which she seeks to introduce it. This unsealed order does not address evidence or factual arguments contained only in that in camera filing.
A. Federal Rule of Evidence 608
As an initial matter, Anderson wishes to offer extrinsic evidence of Victim 2's alleged prostitution-related behavior post-dating Anderson's alleged offenses, for the purpose of impeaching one or more witness's credibility on cross-examination. This implicates Federal Rule of Evidence 608, which provides in relevant part:
(b) Specific Instances of Conduct. Except for a criminal conviction under Rule 609, extrinsic evidence is not admissible to prove specific instances of a witness's conduct in order to attack or support the witness's character for truthfulness. But the court may, on cross-examination, allow them to be inquired into if they are probative of the character for truthfulness of:
(1) the witness; or
(2) another witness whose character the witness being cross-examined ...