United States v. Hitt
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
981 F.2d 422 (1992)
Dale Lee Hitt (defendant) was convicted for possessing an unregistered machine gun. Section 5845(b) of Title 26 U.S.C. defines a machine gun as any weapon capable of discharging multiple shots per trigger pull. The government (plaintiff) alleged that Hitt modified a semiautomatic rifle to rapid-fire. Hitt disputed that the rifle could discharge multiple shots per trigger pull and hired an expert who tested the gun and confirmed that it did not have rapid-fire capability. The government hired an expert who performed the same test but found that the gun did have rapid-fire capability. In response, Hitt’s expert suggested that the gun fired multiple times during the government’s test because of a malfunction due to dirty or defective internal parts. During the trial, the government sought to introduce into evidence a photograph of the gun to argue that it was not dirty or defective. Hitt objected to the admission under Fed. R. 403 on the grounds that the photograph would cause unfair prejudice and mislead the jury because the photograph included other guns that belonged to Hitt’s roommate. The district court overruled the objection. The jury returned a verdict for the government. Hitt appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Kozinski, J.)
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