Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Irrelevant Evidence Leads to Reversal

United States v. Herman Cunningham, No. 05-1515 (August 29, 2006): This is a rare reversal for the improper admission of evidence. The Government presented the results of a Title III wiretap. As part of its foundation, it introduced testimony about the review process involved in the Title III application. This evidence stressed the painstaking review by high-level DOJ officials. The defense objected on the ground that the government was introducing opinion testimony by government officials concerning their clients’ guilt. On appeal, the Court agreed that this evidence was entirely irrelevant and prejudicial.