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United States v. Wells

United States District Court, D. Alaska

July 18, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JAMES MICHAEL WELLS, Defendant.

          ORDER RE: MOTION TO PROHIBIT IRRELEVANT CHARACTER EVIDENCE

          SHARON L. GLEASON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court at Docket 945 is defendant James Michael Wells' Motion to Prohibit Irrelevant Character Evidence.[1] The government filed an opposition.[2] Mr. Wells filed a reply.[3] The motion was addressed at oral argument on April 22, 2019.[4] At the request of the Court, both parties filed supplemental briefing.[5]

         Mr. Wells seeks an order prohibiting “irrelevant character evidence pursuant to F.R.E. 404 and F.R.E. 403 as well as defendant's constitutional right to a fair trial.”[6]Specifically, Mr. Wells seeks to exclude 12 pieces of lay witness testimony that were introduced through his former co-workers at his first trial, which “paint a picture of Wells as a bad employee and a bad person.”[7] The 12 pieces of lay witness testimony described Mr. Wells as:

(1) having “a poor attitude”
(2) “quite conceited at times”
(3) “only receptive to change if he had played a part in coming up with the change”
(4) not known to be the kind of person who did “as you're told”
(5) “view[ing] himself as extremely knowledgeable”
(6) taking “pride in his role” in the antennae tower community as shown by his “strut[ting] at conferences”
(7) “just set in the way he would do things”
(8) “difficult at times”
(9) “not real good at sharing the information he had”
(10) “difficult” and “set in the way he would do things”
(11) “more difficult to work with than the other [employees]
(12) a “narcissist.”[8]

         The government has clarified that it will not be calling the witnesses who made statements (2), (3), and (12).[9] The government thus asserts that the motion regarding statements (2), (3), and (12) is moot.[10] The Court agrees and does not address those statements in this order other than to note that the Court is disinclined ...


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