Thursday, December 5, 2013

United States v. Duffy case brief

United States v. Duffy case brief summary
454 F.2d 809 (1972)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Appellant sought review of an order of the United States District Court, which convicted him of transporting a motor vehicle in interstate commerce from Florida to California, knowing it to have been stolen, in violation of 18 U.S.C.S. § 2312.

CASE FACTS
Appellant was employed in the body shop of an automobile dealership in Florida, where a stolen vehicle was in the body shop for repair. The vehicle disappeared and was found in California. Appellant was convicted of transporting a motor vehicle in interstate commerce knowing it to have been stolen in violation of 18 U.S.C.S. § 2312. The trial court overruled appellant's objection to the admission of testimony about a shirt found in the trunk with a laundry mark with the first three letters of appellant's name.

DISCUSSION

  • The court affirmed the trial court's decision and held that the admission of testimony regarding the shirt did not violate the best evidence rule because the rule was applicable only to proof of the contents of a writing, and was not applicable to an object bearing a mark or inscription. 
  • The court held that admission of the testimony without requiring production of the shirt was not error because the shirt was not critical to the case, possession of the shirt was not an element of the crime, and appellant was not denied his right to cross-examination. 
  • The court held that the jurors witnessing sentencing in an unrelated case was not prejudicial.

CONCLUSION
The court affirmed the trial court, which overruled appellant's objection to admission of testimony about a shirt in appellant's conviction for transporting a stolen motor vehicle in interstate commerce, because admission of the testimony did not violate the best evidence rule, the shirt was not critical to respondent's case, and possession of the shirt was not an element of the crime.

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