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7th Circuit ends use of inextricable intertwinement doctrine

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a defendant’s perjury conviction and in doing so, concluded that resorting to inextricable intertwinement is unavailable when determining a theory of admissibility.

Jamarkus Gorman challenged his perjury conviction after testifying falsely before a grand jury. Gorman’s brother was the subject of drug trafficking and money laundering investigations. Police learned his brother had a Bentley and wanted to seize it as proceeds of the brother’s illegal drug activity. Police met with Gorman at his gated condominium complex and asked if he knew of the Bentley and whether it was stored in the condominium complex’s garage. Gorman said he didn’t know of a Bentley, and lied to police about which parking spots in the garage he owned. After police left because they didn’t see the Bentley, Gorman had several people help him tow the car out of the garage and abandon it. They also pried open the trunk which contained money used to pay accomplices.

When testifying before the grand jury as part of the indictment process for the money laundering charges, Gorman said he never had a Bentley in his garage. Before his perjury trial, the District Court admitted certain witness statements about the car theft and his retrieving money out of the trunk. The District Court concluded the evidence was admissible under the inextricable intertwinement doctrine.

In United States of America v. Jamarkus Gorman No. 09-3010, the Circuit Court spent time analyzing the admission of the evidence and overruled its prior line of cases that allowed for admission using the inextricable intertwinement doctrine.

“There is now so much overlap between the theories of admissibility that the inextricable intertwinement doctrine often serves as the basis for admission even when it is unnecessary,” wrote Judge Michael Kanne. “Thus, although this fine distinction has traditionally existed, the inextricable intertwinement doctrine has since become overused, vague, and quite unhelpful.”

They found the District Court didn’t need to resort to the inextricable intertwinement doctrine to admit the evidence. Even though it was admitted using that doctrine, it made no practical difference to the outcome of admissibility. The judges found the evidence was properly admitted as direct evidence instead and the probative value of that evidence was not substantially outweighed by any unfair prejudicial effect on Gorman.

They also found a little merit in Gorman’s argument that he never “had” the Bentley because he didn’t own it, so he couldn’t have lied on the stand.

“We agree initially with Jamarkus that “to have” has more than one meaning,” wrote Judge Kanne. “But what Jamarkus ignores is that our precedent dictates that even when a question or answer is ambiguous, a conviction may still be upheld if a jury has been called upon ‘to determine that the question as the defendant understood it was falsely answered….’”

There was ample evidence of conduct that is consistent with Gorman’s possession of the Bentley, including his storage of the vehicle and implicit claims he owned the car.
 

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  1. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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