UPDATE: the Supreme Court vacated this opinion, and on remand the Third Circuit ordered resentencing, link here.
U.S. v. Steiner — criminal — affirmance — Fuentes
The Third Circuit today held that (1) admission of a defendant’s arrest on an unrelated offense was error but the error was harmless, and (2) the district court did not erro when it refused to instruct the jury that, in order to convict the defendant of possessing various ammunition, it must be unanimous as to each type of ammunition.
With respect to the improper admission of the unrelated arrest, the court emphasized that the trial prosecutor (who is not identified in the opinion) “played a central role,” adding “we are deeply troubled by the prosecutor’s statement at trial and “admonish[ing] the government to take greater care in its representations to the trial court and not brandish Rule 404(b) so cavalierly.”
Joining Fuentes were Jordan and Vanaskie. Arguing counsel were Renee Pietropaolo for the defendant and Jane Dattilo for the government.