Thursday, December 5, 2013

United States v. Trenkler case brief

United States v. Trenkler case brief summary
61 F.3d 45 (1st Cir. 1995)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendant challenged his conviction by the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Defendant was convicted of conspiracy, 18 U.S.C.S. § 371, receipt of explosive materials with knowledge and intent that they would be used to kill, injure and intimidate, and cause damage to real and personal property, 18 U.S.C.S. § 844(d), and malicious destruction of property by means of explosives, 18 U.S.C.S. § 844(i).

CASE FACTS
Defendant was convicted of conspiracy, 18 U.S.C.S. § 371, receipt of explosive materials with knowledge and intent that they would be used to kill, injure and intimidate, and cause damage to real and personal property, 18 U.S.C.S. § 844(d), and malicious destruction of property by means of explosives, 18 U.S.C.S. § 844(i). Defendant contended on appeal that it was error for the district court to have allowed evidence of another bombing to have been presented.

DISCUSSION

  • The court affirmed the conviction, finding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining that the numerous similarities in components, design, and technique of assembly, combined with the similar modus operandi and the closeness of geographic proximity between the two events, sufficiently supported the inference that the same person built both bombs. 
  • The court held that it was proper to allow evidence of prior acts because the government showed that there existed a high degree of similarity between the other act and the charged crime. 
  • The government demonstrated that the two acts exhibited a commonality of distinguishing features sufficient to earmark them as the handiwork of the same individual.

CONCLUSION
Defendant's conviction was affirmed. The court held that it was proper for the district court to have allowed evidence to be presented of another bombing because the two bombings were so similar. The court also found that no prejudice to defendant existed.

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