United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
TIMOTHY L. BROOKS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court are:
• Defendant Oren Paris Ill's Motion in Limine to
Exclude any Reference to the "Shingle Resource
Recycling, LLC" (hereinafter, "SRR") (Doc.
164), and the Government's Response (Doc. 184) and
Proffer of Evidence in Support (Doc. 185);
• Dr. Paris's Motion in Limine Regarding Privileged
Communications with George Hiller (Doc. 165), and the
Government's Response (Doc. 186);
• Dr. Paris's Motion in Limine to Exclude any
Assertion that Electronic Transmissions Bear an Interstate
Nexus, and to Exclude the Electronic Transmissions Themselves
for Purposes of Proving Violation of 18 U.S.C § 1343
(Doc. 166), the Government's Response (Doc. 190), and Dr.
Paris's Reply (Doc. 208);
• Dr. Paris's Motion to Strike Surplusage (Doc.
167), and the Government's Response (Doc. 199);
• A filing by Defendant Randell G. Shelton indicating
that he joins the aforementioned four Motions by Dr. Paris,
see Doc. 173; and
• Dr. Paris's Motion to Dismiss the Second
Superseding Indictment or, in the Alternative, Renewal of His
Motion to Sever (Doc. 163), and the Government's Response
reasons given below, all five of these Motions by Dr. Paris
MOTION IN LIMINE REGARDING SRR (Doc. 164)
Paris asks the Court to "exclude any evidence related
to" SRR, which he describes as "a business that was
operated for a time on ... a piece of real property purchased
by Ecclesia College during the same period of time that
Ecclesia received GIF monies from the NWAEDD." (Doc.
164, p. 1). Dr. Paris then asserts in conclusory fashion that
"SRR bears no actual relevance with respect to the
charges alleged herein, " that "the factual
timeline by which Ecclesia College interacted with SRR is
complicated, difficult to follow, and contains aspects that
the government could attempt to manipulate into what might
appear to the layman as support for the charges
alleged." Id. Dr. Paris does not offer any
description of what these "aspects" of the
relationship are, but instead simply states that "[a]
complete and unadulterated rendition of the facts relating to
SRR"-which are not provided in his Motion-"reveals
that those facts bear no criminal element or relevance with
respect to the charges alleged, and having to prepare to
present a complete rendition of the facts relating to SRR (or
to supplement an incomplete rendition of the same by the
government) would be a time-consuming and needlessly
prejudicial burden for Dr. Paris." See Id. He
then asks the Court to "exclude any reference to SRR
whatsoever" as irrelevant under Fed.R.Evid. 401, and as
unfairly prejudicial under Fed.R.Evid. 403. Id. at
2. He further asks the Court to exclude any such references
under Fed.R.Evid. 404 as inadmissible propensity evidence
"to the extent the government avers that there is some
nefarious element associated with Dr. Paris (sic) involvement
with SRR." Id.
Court cannot determine particular facts' relevance,
potential for unfair prejudice, or potential for use as
propensity evidence without being informed as to what the
facts in question even are. Yet that is exactly what Dr.
Paris is asking the Court to do. This factual vacuum is
sufficient grounds for denying the Motion before ever even
reaching the Government's Response.
the Government's Response provides additional grounds for
denying the Motion, because the Government's Response is
accompanied by a Proffer of the evidence regarding SRR that
it would seek to admit at trial. See Doc. 185. The
Court will avoid going into detail here about the facts in
the Proffer, because the Proffer was filed under seal
pursuant to the Protective Order (Doc. 14) in this case. But
the Court will generally observe that the Proffer contains
evidence that at one point all three Defendants in this case
simultaneously held substantial shares of ownership in SRR,
which was a for-profit business, and that shortly after Mr.
Woods left his membership with SRR, he made an appropriation
of public Arkansas funds to benefit SRR, while the other two
Defendants were still members of SRR and were privately
corresponding with Woods about his efforts to make the
appropriation. See Doc. 185. These events all
occurred during the time frame when the Second Superseding
Indictment alleges that these three Defendants conspired to
commit Honest Services Fraud.
these SRR-related events are relevant to the charges in this
case, in that they provide context for the business and
political relationships between these Defendants during the
time of their alleged conspiracy, and evidence of these
Defendants' knowledge of each others' business
activities and efforts to obtain grant appropriations through
the political process. It is "evidence tending to make
the existence of a conspiracy more probable." See
United States v. Maxwell,643 F.3d 1096, 1101 (8th Cir.
2011). And again, the Court presently does not have any basis
to conclude that this relevance is substantially outweighed
by the risk of unfair prejudice, since Dr. Paris has not
provided any elaboration on his bare ...