Sunday, December 22, 2013

United States v. Kristiansen case brief

United States v. Kristiansen case brief summary
901 F.2d 1463 (8th Cir. 1990)

Defendant appealed the order of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, which convicted him for escaping from a halfway house facility on charges brought by the government pursuant to 18 U.S.C.S. § 751(a).

Defendant failed to return to a halfway house and was subsequently convicted by a jury for escape from custody pursuant to 18 U.S.C.S. § 751(a) on charges brought by the government. Defendant appealed his conviction, arguing that the district court improperly excluded defendant's questions to an expert under Fed. R. Evid. 704(b) while allowing the government's questions and arguing that the government's closing argument was improper.


  • The court affirmed the judgment of the district court. 
  • The defense should have been permitted to ask the expert whether the mental disease or defect of the type defendant allegedly had would affect a person's ability to appreciate his actions. 
  • It related to the symptoms and qualities of the disease itself and did not call for an answer that described defendant's culpability at the time of the crime. 
  • However, the error was not prejudicial because the defense was permitted to ask a sufficiently close question. 
  • Further, defendant's counsel did not object to the government's questioning of the expert. 
  • The trial court's instructions cured any misapprehensions the jury might have had after the government's closing argument.
The court affirmed the judgment of the district court that convicted defendant for escaping from a halfway house facility.

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