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UNITED STATES v. CROWDER
April 8, 1994
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
JOHN CROWDER III, HILARY EVERETT MEDLIN, AND RICHARD WHITE
The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN T. NIXON
Pending before the Court is the Government's Motion In Limine to Admit Statements of Unavailable Declarant (Doc. No. 122).
The Government's motion was argued before the Court on April 4, 1994. The Government seeks to offer into evidence during the trial in this matter testimony given by Jerry Bell ("Bell"), now deceased, under oath to a federal grand jury. Notwithstanding the fact that these statements are hearsay, the Government contends that the testimony is admissible because they were made by an unavailable declarant and are against interest pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 804(b)(3). Alternatively, the Government argues that Bell's testimony falls within the residual hearsay exception provided for in Federal Rule of Evidence 804(b)(5).
Defendant Hilary Everett Medlin ("Medlin") objects to the introduction of this testimony as violative of the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The office of the Mayor of Nashville received anonymous information about possible illegal activity in the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. Tennessee (Metro) Purchasing Department regarding disclosure of "sealed bids." The information included a photocopy of a handwritten note on a piece of paper with the letterhead "From the Desk of H. Everett Medlin." H. Everett Medlin is one of the defendants in this matter and was the Director of Purchasing for Metro. The note read as follows: "Jerry mark your bid to open 6/2/89. Call me if you don't understand." Attached to the note were photocopies of two bids. "Jerry" refers to the now deceased Jerry Bell, nephew of Medlin.
Based on this anonymously received information, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) questioned Bell on December 9, 1991. Bell informed the investigators that he was the owner of ABC Pavement Marking Company. Bell provided the following written and signed statement to the investigators:
I, Jerry Bell, hereby state that in 1989 I had a conversation with Everett Medlin, Metro Director of Purchasing, regarding a Metro contract. I wanted to bid on the contract to do Metro work for lining pavement. Medlin, who is my uncle, made copies of the bids submitted by other companies. As I recall I went to Everett's office where he had copies and a note to me in a manilla [sic] envelope.
After getting the other bids I marked my bid just a little lower. I ended up getting the Metro contract and have it as of today. This is the first and only time I have received inside help on getting Metro work.
On December 18, 1991, Bell testified in front of a federal grand jury. Bell identified the note with attached bids as having been given to him by Medlin. His testimony was consistent with the statement he provided to the TBI and the FBI. Postal Inspection Service lab analysis identified the handwriting on the note as that of Everett Medlin.
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