Friday, July 21, 2006

FRE 413 Doesn't Require a Convction; Kidnapping Under 18 U.S.C. § 242 Doesn't Require Transportation Across State Lines

United States v. Guidry, No. 05-50977 (5th Cir. July 18, 2006) (corrected op.)

Here is the court's summary of the opinion:

Defendant Dwaun Guidry was charged with depriving Denise Limon of her civil rights by kidnapping (Count One) and with violating her constitutional right to bodily integrity by sexually assaulting her (Count Two), both in violation of 18U.S.C. § 242; carrying a firearm “during and in relation to” the sexual assault of Limon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A) (Count Three); and conspiring to deprive five other women of their due process right to bodily integrity, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 241 (Count Four). After trial, the jury found him guilty on all counts. On appeal, Guidry makes five arguments: (1) the district court improperly admitted the testimony of Julie Ristaino accusing Guidry of extrinsic sexual assault offenses of which he was not convicted; (2) the prosecutor made remarks in his closing argument amounting to reversible error; (3) the evidence was insufficient to prove that Guidry conspired to deprive the five victims of their Fourteenth Amendment rights; (4) the evidence was insufficient to prove that Guidry carried a firearm “during and in relation to” the rape of Denise Limon, because Guidry carried a gun in his gunbelt as a matter of course; and (5) the kidnapping enhancement in 18 U.S.C. § 242 cannot be applied to Guidry because he did not transport or attempt to transport Limon across state lines. For the forthcoming reasons, we AFFIRM.

I'll just highlight two things from the opinion:

1) The court "join[s its] sister circuits in holding that, subject to other admissibility considerations, Rule 413 allows the admission of other sexual assaults including those that are the subject of uncharged conduct." Slip op. at 19. Guidry had argued that only sexual assualts resulting in convictions are admissible under FRE 413. The Fifth Circuit had not previously considered the application of this rule.

2) Relying in part on Taylor v. United States, the court holds that the term "kidnap" in 18 U.S.C. § 242 must be defined according to its generic, contemporary, and common meaning. The court rejects Guidry's argument that § 242 incorporates either the common law defintion of kidnapping or the definition found in the federal kidnapping statute (18 U.S.C. § 1201). Thus, "kidnapping" under § 242 can consist of either asportation or confinement, and does not require transportation across state lines.


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