United States v. Juan

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: 01-07-2013
  • Case #: 11-10539
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge M. Smith for the Court; Circuit Judges Gould and Sack
  • Full Text Opinion

For a defendant to show a violation of due process under the Fifth Amendment for prosecutorial intimidation of a witness, defendant must show a causal link between the statements and the witness's decision to change her decision.

Jarvis Martin Juan was convicted of felony and misdemeanor assault for striking and running over the victim, his wife. At trial, the victim recanted her testimony on the stand and refused to work with the prosecution, so the government sought to introduce the victim’s prior statements, which the district court prohibited. Outside of the presence of the jury and the victim, the government argued that the victim most likely needed to be appointed counsel, because it had overwhelming evidence that she had perjured herself and the district court agreed. After consulting with her attorney, the government called the victim to the stand and, when asked if she wanted to correct her prior statements, she testified in conformity with her original report. Juan appealed, claiming that the government had intimidated the victim into changing her testimony, which violated his Fifth Amendment Due Process rights. The Ninth Circuit held that the government did not violate Juan’s right to due process, because there was no evidence proving that the government’s statements caused the victim to alter her testimony, or that she was even aware of the statements. The Court also held that, contrary to Juan’s claim, the district court’s sentencing was appropriate under Waknine, because “the district court adequately and contemporaneously” explained its sentencing rationale. AFFIRMED.

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