Thursday, December 5, 2013

United States v. Stevens case brief

United States v. Stevens case brief summary
935 F.2d 1380 (3d Cir. 1991)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Appellant challenged the judgment of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, which found him guilty of aggravated sexual assault and robbery on a military base, claiming that the witness's identification of him violated Due Process, the government failed to preserve exculpatory evidence, and the trial court erred in refusing to allow him to present a defense witness.

CASE FACTS
Appellant entered a military base and robbed two officers. Appellant also ordered one of the officers to perform an oral act on him. After the incident, the two victims went to the police, where they identified appellant's photo that was hanging on a bulletin board. Sperm samples were also taken from one of the victim's mouth. Appellant was arrested and charged with sexual assault and robbery. Appellant was found guilty and challenged his conviction, arguing that the government failed to preserve the sperm evidence taken from the victim's mouth; that the victim's identification of him was unconstitutional; and that the trial court improperly denied his request to introduce an expert witness that another person committed the crimes.

DISCUSSION
  • The court held that because the government did not exercise bad faith, appellant's due process rights were not violated by the loss of the sperm samples. 
  • The court also stated that the victim's identification of him at the police station was proper. 
  • However, the court concluded that the trial court erred in not allowing appellant's expert witness to testify that another person committed the crime, and the court remanded for a new trial.

CONCLUSION
The court affirmed in part and reversed in part the lower court ruling, holding that the prosecutor's failure to preserve exculpatory evidence was not illegal because there was no bad faith, and that witness's identification of appellant at a police station was not unconstitutional. However, the court concluded that appellant's expert witness should have been allowed to testify that another person committed the crime. The case was remanded.

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