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Showing posts from November, 2007

Admissibility of Co-conspirators Statements

In United States v. Weaver, No. 04-3888 (3d Cir. November 7, 2007), the Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s grant of the Defendant Weaver’s motion in limine precluding the Government from introducing a recorded telephone conversation between an alleged co-conspirator and her sister wherein the co-conspirator made statements implicating Weaver in a fraud scheme. The district court granted the motion, without having held a hearing, finding that the statements made by the co-conspirator were not in furtherance of the conspiracy and seemed to "constitute derogatory opinions having no conceivable value." The Court of Appeals rejected those conclusions and found the statements to be admissible under Federal Rule of Evidence 801(d)(2)(E).

Dolores Weaver was the director of an educational program at the Community College of Philadelphia (CCP). She was alleged to have been involved in a scheme with Faridah Ali, the assistant director of the Sister Clara Mohammed School wher…

Jury Instructions in Religious Tax Protestors' Case Constructively Amended Indictment

United States v. McKee, No. 05-3297 (Oct. 29, 2007), involved the prosecution of three members of the Reformed Israel of Yaweh ("RIY") religious sect, which opposes the payment of taxes to support war. Two of the defendants were owners of a small carpentry and home renovation business, and the third was the wife of one of the defendants. The Third Circuit vacated the defendants’ convictions for failing to pay employment taxes because the jury instructions constructively amended the indictment. The indictment charged the defendants with preparing, signing, and causing the filing of false employment tax returns. The instructions listed several examples of conduct sufficient to establish the charged conspiracy, including falsifying records and failing to report wages to an accountant. Although the government introduced evidence that the defendants falsified books and records and withheld information from the company’s accountant, this conduct was never charged in the indictment…