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Carter v. Hewitt

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
617 F.2d 961 (3d Cir. 1980)


Facts

Reginald Carter (plaintiff) was an inmate at a state prison. Carter filed suit against various prison officials (defendants), alleging that he had been severely beaten by guards at the prison. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. Carter testified at a hearing on the motion. During their cross-examination of Carter, the defendants presented a letter written by Carter to another inmate. The letter stated, “This is a set up.” The letter also encouraged the other inmate to file complaints against prison officials to establish a false pattern of “barbaric brutal” harassment. The hearing magistrate directed Carter to read the letter aloud, and later admitted the letter into evidence. The district court ruled in favor of the defendants. Carter appealed, arguing that the letter should have been excluded under Federal Rule of Evidence (FRE) 403 for unfair prejudice.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Garth, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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