Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ohler v. United States case brief

Ohler v. United States case brief summary
529 U.S 753 (2000)


CASE SYNOPSIS
On writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, petitioner appealed the judgment of the appellate court which affirmed the district court's in limine ruling allowing the United States to use her prior conviction for impeachment purposes.

CASE FACTS
The district court issued an in limine ruling allowing the United States to use petitioner's prior conviction for impeachment purposes. The appellate court affirmed, holding that petitioner waived her objection by introducing evidence of the conviction during her direct examination. The court granted certiorari.

DISCUSSION

  • Generally, a party introducing evidence could not have complained on appeal that the evidence was erroneously admitted. 
  • Petitioner argued that it would have been unfair to apply such a waiver rule in this situation because it compelled a defendant to forgo the tactical advantage of preemptively introducing the conviction in order to appeal the in limine ruling. 
  • The court found that petitioner's argument would have denied to the United States its usual right to decide, after she testified, whether or not to use her prior conviction against her. 
  • The court held that a defendant who preemptively introduced evidence of a prior conviction on direct examination may not have claimed on appeal that the admission of such evidence was error.

CONCLUSION
Judgment affirmed; because petitioner preemptively introduced evidence of a prior conviction on direct examination, she could not have claimed on appeal that the admission of such evidence was error.

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