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United States v. Harris

United States District Court for the District of Hawaii

April 26, 2018, Decided; April 26, 2018, Filed

CR. NO. 17-00001 HG-01



The Government filed four Motions in Limine seeking to permit testimony from witnesses that it claims are unavailable to appear in-person. (ECF Nos. 52, 53, 54, and 77).

The Government initially requested the following witnesses be permitted to testify via deposition or via live two-way video testimony:

(1) April Yates;

(2) Kathy Coonce;

(3) Samantha Vega; and,

(4) Julie Marlowe.

Following a hearing on April 12, 2018, the Government made additional efforts in order to assist the witnesses and make them available to testify in-person.

(1) April Yates - The Government states that arrangements were possible to enable April Yates to come to Hawaii in order for her to testify in-person.

(2) Kathy Coonce - The Government has withdrawn its request for Kathy Coonce to testify via deposition. She will no longer be called as a witness. [*2] 

The Government continues to maintain that Ms. Vega and Ms. Marlowe are unavailable due to their child care responsibilities for their disabled children.

(3) Samantha Vega - The Government seeks to admit the deposition testimony of Samantha Vega. In the alternative, the Government requests permission for Ms. Vega to testify via live video.

(4) Julie Marlowe - The Government requests that Julie Marlowe be permitted to testify via live two-way video teleconference.

I. Confrontation Clause

The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that "[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right ... to be confronted with the witnesses against him." U.S. Const. Amend. VI. This clause, known as the Confrontation Clause, "guarantees the defendant a face-to-face meeting with witnesses appearing before the trier of fact." Coy v. Iowa, 487 U.S. 1012, 1016, 108 S. Ct. 2798, 101 L. Ed. 2d 857 (1988).

The right to a physical, face-to-face confrontation is not absolute and may be compromised in limited circumstances. First, the right to face-to-face confrontation is not violated if there is:

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2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70660 *; 2018 WL 1990519


Prior History: United States v. Harris, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67360 (D. Haw., Apr. 20, 2018)


video, unavailable, witnesses, military, Therapy, travel, district court, in-person, two-way, special needs, deposition, exceptional circumstances, public policy, infirmity, requests