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United States v. Stevens

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
935 F.2d 1380 (3d Cir. 1991)


On April 15, 1989, two Air Force police officers were robbed at gunpoint (and one of them sexually assaulted) at Fort Dix, New Jersey, near a bus shelter. The two victims, who were white, identified Richard Stevens (defendant), an African-American, as the perpetrator. At his trial, Stevens sought to admit evidence that in a similar robbery, the victim, Tyrone Mitchell, also African-American, stated that Stevens was not the robber. Stevens sought to introduce expert evidence that cross-racial identifications are unreliable, and that Mitchell’s statement that it was not Stevens was more reliable because they were of the same race. He also sought to introduce evidence that the police who investigated both crimes believed that one person committed both crimes, as they shared similar characteristics and things taken in both robberies all ended up in Fort Meade in Maryland. The district court excluded the evidence. Stevens was convicted of the robbery and sexual assault and appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Becker, J.)

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