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United States v. Myers - Citation: 550 F.2d 1036 (5th Cir. 1977)

Rule:

Analytically, flight is an admission by conduct. Its probative value as circumstantial evidence of guilt depends upon the degree of confidence with which four inferences can be drawn: (1) from the defendant's behavior to flight; (2) from flight to consciousness of guilt; (3) from consciousness of guilt to consciousness of guilt concerning the crime charged; and (4) from consciousness of guilt concerning the crime charged to actual guilt of the crime charged.

Facts:

Defendant Larry Allan Myers was convicted of bank robbery. On appeal, he contended that the district court committed reversible error when it refused to strike the testimony of alibi rebuttal witnesses whose identities were not disclosed before the trial, admitted evidence indicating that Myers had previously been convicted of armed bank robbery, and gave the jury a flight instruction that lacked sufficient evidentiary support.

Issue:

Was Myers properly convicted despite admission undisclosed rebuttal witnesses; flight instructions to the jury that lack evidentiary support; and admission into evidence that defendant was previously convicted of bank robbery?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

The court concluded that the government had a continuing duty to notify defendant of the existence of alibi rebuttal witnesses and the district court abused its discretion when it failed to exclude the testimony of those undisclosed witnesses. The district court committed reversible error when it admitted evidence indicating that defendant had previously been convicted of armed robbery. It also erred in instructing the jury concerning the proper use of evidence indicating that defendant fled from FBI agents on two occasions subsequent to the commission of the robbery because there was no support in the record for such an instruction. The judgment and conviction appealed from was reversed.

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