United States v. Caldwell

760 F.3d 267 (2014)

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United States v. Caldwell

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
760 F.3d 267 (2014)

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Facts

Akeem Caldwell (defendant) was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. An officer testified that he saw Caldwell walking with Darby Tigney on the street. The officer testified that when Caldwell saw the police car, he took a gun from his waistband and held it behind Tigney’s back. The officer testified that he got out of the car and demanded that the gun be dropped. At that point, the officer saw a gun fall between Tigney’s legs to the ground. Caldwell claimed that the gun was Tigney’s. At trial, the prosecution (plaintiff) sought to introduce evidence of Caldwell’s two prior gun-related convictions, which occurred over six years prior. The district court held that Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b) (Rule 404(b)) did not preclude admission of the convictions because they were not being introduced to prove that Caldwell had a propensity for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Rather, the court ruled that Caldwell, by claiming that he was not in possession of a gun, put his knowledge and intent at issue. The convictions were thus admissible under Rule 404(b) to show Caldwell’s knowledge and intent. Because of this finding, the court did not reach the prosecution’s alternative argument, that the convictions were admissible under Federal Rule of Evidence 609(a)(1) (Rule 609(a)(1)) to impeach Caldwell’s credibility as a witness. Caldwell was convicted, and he appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Smith, J.)

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