United States v. Buffalo

358 F.3d 519 (2004)

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United States v. Buffalo

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
358 F.3d 519 (2004)

  • Written by Arlyn Katen, JD

Facts

After a group of four or five people attacked Jules Uses Many with a baseball bat, Karsten Buffalo (defendant) was federally indicted as one of Uses Many’s alleged assailants. At Buffalo’s jury trial, Buffalo raised a mistaken-identity defense, arguing that a similar-looking man, Rodney Hayes, was the true perpetrator. Buffalo attempted to introduce evidence that Hayes had told two of Buffalo’s cellmates in jail, Chastyn Waloke and Justin Romero (the cellmates), that Hayes had assaulted Uses Many. The district court ruled that if Buffalo called Hayes as a witness, Buffalo could not present the cellmates’ testimonies that Hayes confessed. The court reasoned that calling Hayes would merely be a ruse to introduce Hayes’s otherwise inadmissible hearsay confession as impeachment evidence. Buffalo called Hayes as a witness anyway. Hayes testified that although Hayes told Buffalo’s cellmates that Hayes wished that he had helped assault Uses Many, Hayes did not actually participate in the assault. The jury convicted Buffalo of assault with a dangerous weapon and assault resulting in serious bodily injury. Buffalo appealed, primarily arguing that the district court had erred by excluding his cellmates’ testimonies that Hayes had confessed to assaulting Uses Many.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Melloy, J.)

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