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United States v. Olson

United States District Court, D. Montana, Billings Division

May 18, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
MATTHEW STONEY OLSON, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART, DENYING IN PART, AND DENYING IN PART WITH LEAVE TO RENEW, DEFENDANT'S MOTION IN LIMINE

          SUSAN P. WATTERS United States District Judge.

         Before the Court is Defendant Matthew Olson's Motion in Limine. (Doc. 49). For the foregoing reasons, the Court GRANTS IN PART, DENIES IN PART, and DENIES IN PART WITH LEAVE TO RENEW, Olson's Motion in Limine.

         I. Facts

         Olson is charged by indictment with one count of Receipt of Child Pornography and one count of Possession of Child Pornography. (Doc. 2). The indictment alleges that between April 4, 2015, and June 9, 2015, Olson knowingly received video files depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct on a computer, and that on June 15, 2015, Olson knowingly possessed still picture images of child pornography on a computer. (Doc. 2 at 2).

         Several videos found on the computer depict a father or stepfather relationship between an adult male and minor female. (Doc. 55 at 6-7); (Doc. 62 at 2-3). The sexual conduct in the videos includes digital, penile, and oral penetration of the minor female's vagina by the adult male. (Doc. 55 at 6-7); (Doc. 62 at 2-3).

         In separate recorded interviews with the McCone County Sherriff conducted in May and June of 2013, twin sisters alleged Olson sexually abused them approximately ten years prior. (Doc. 51 at 2-4). According to the twins, the abuse occurred in the basement bedroom of a residence they lived in with their mother, Olson, and younger siblings. (Doc. 51 at 2-4). Olson is not the twins' father but is the father of the twins' younger siblings. (Doc. 62 at 3-4). Olson was approximately twenty-five years old when the alleged abuse occurred. (Doc. 11 at 1).

         The first twin to be interviewed stated Olson sexually abused her three to four times a week between the ages of twelve and fourteen. (Doc. 51 at 3). The abuse included digital and penile penetration of her vagina. (Doc. 51 at 3). The second twin to be interviewed stated Olson sexually abused her on a weekly basis between the ages often and thirteen. (Doc. 51 at 3-4). The abuse included digital and oral penetration of her vagina, and attempted penile penetration of her vagina. (Doc. 51 at 3-4). Both twins stated Olson threatened to take their younger siblings away if they told. (Doc. 51 at 3-4). No charges were brought against Olson concerning the twins' allegations. (Doc. 62 at 3).

         The government notified Olson of its intent to call the twins to testify about the alleged abuse. (Doc. 55 at 2). Olson moved to exclude the twins' testimony, the introduction of adult pornography found on the computer, and the introduction of a large number of child pornography images. (Doc. 49).

         II. Standard of review

         A district judge's ruling under Rule 403 that evidence is more probative than prejudicial is reviewed for an abuse of discretion. United States v. LeMay, 260 F.3d 1018, 1024 (9th Cir. 2001).

         III. Law

         In a criminal case in which a defendant is accused of child molestation, the court may admit evidence that the defendant committed any other child molestation. Fed.R.Evid. 414(a). The evidence may be considered on any matter to which it is relevant. Fed.R.Evid. 414(a). "Child molestation" means, among other things, a crime under federal law involving any conduct prohibited by 18 U.S.C. chapter 110. Fed.R.Evid. 414(d). Receipt of Child Pornography and Possession of Child Pornography are both crimes under 18 U.S.C. chapter 110. 18 U.S.C. § 2252.

         Evidence admissible under Rule 414 must still be admissible under Rule 403. Fed.R.Evid. 414(d); LeMay, 260 F.3d at 1027. Under Rule 403, the court may exclude relevant evidence if its probative value is substantially outweighed by a danger of unfair prejudice. In determining whether to admit evidence of a defendant's prior acts of sexual misconduct under Rule 403, the court considers the following factors: (1) the similarity of the prior acts to the acts charged; (2) the closeness in time of the prior acts to the acts charged; (3) the frequency of the prior acts; (4) the presence or lack of intervening circumstances; and (5) the necessity of the evidence beyond the testimonies already offered at trial. LeMay, 260 F.3d at 1027-1028.

         IV. ...


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