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United States v. Vassar

August 30, 2006

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
MICHAEL CARL VASSAR



The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Ronnie Greer United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

This matter is before the Court on "Defendant Michael Vassar's Motion For Court To Reconsider Questioning The Foreman Of The Jury As To The Conspiracy In Count I Or To Permit The Defense To Do So" [Doc. 529] and the defendant's supplemental memorandum in support of his motion [Doc. 546].*fn1 The government has responded. [Doc. 535].

The defendant previously filed a motion for the Court or the defense to interview the jury foreman as to the conspiracy charged in Count I of the indictment. [Doc. 485]. Characterizing defendant's request as an improper effort to impeach the jury verdict through use of juror testimony in violation of Fed. R. Evid. 606(b), this Court, by order entered June 27, 2006, denied the motion. [Doc. 522]. The defendant sought to have the jury foreman interviewed in order to inquire into the identity of the "co-conspirator and the basis" of the jury's verdict as to Count I. The defendant seeks reconsideration of the Court's order.

The defendant, in his motion for reconsideration, argues that he is not attempting to impeach the jury verdict but rather that his "requested post-verdict interview is for nothing more than what could have been asked of the jury by special verdict or by interrogatory." (Doc. 529 at p. 4). He further alleges: "[i]f these type questions are proper for interrogatory or a special verdict, then these questions are proper for a post-trial interview and do not constitute F.R.E. [sic] 606(b) prohibited information." (Id.) The defendant further argues that the jury " . . . could have found, and most probably did find, . . ." that a conspiracy existed based on conduct that was not a conspiracy. (Id.)

Despite defendant's disingenuous characterization of his argument, he clearly seeks to interview the foreman of the jury in an effort to impeach the jury verdict, a purpose clearly prohibited by Fed. R. Evid. 606(b). The defendant offers absolutely no authority to support his conclusion that his requested interview concerns matters that were properly the subject of a special verdict or interrogatory.*fn2 In fact, no such authority exists. The jury was properly instructed on the elements of a conspiracy and this Court presumes that the jury followed its instructions.

The defendant's motion to reconsider is without merit and is ...


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