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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA

TAMPA DIVISION


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


v.



JOEL COLON

/













Case No. 8:13-cr-86-T-33EAJ








ORDER



This matter is before the Court pursuant to Defendant

Joel Colon’s Motion in Limine (Doc. # 56), filed on July

25, 2013. The Government filed a response in opposition to

the Motion (Doc. # 63) on July 28, 2013. On July 30, 2013,

the Court heard argument on the Motion. For the reasons

that follow, the Motion is denied.

I. Discussion



Pursuant to Rule 403 of the Federal Rules of Evidence,

Colon seeks to preclude the Government from referencing at

trial (1) evidence of Colon’s “admission to armed

trafficking” made in connection with an admission of a

violation of probation in a state court proceeding, and (2)

“expert testimony regarding drug dealing activity.” (Doc.

# 56 at 2, 5).



A.

Admission



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With regard to the evidence of Colon’s violation-of-

probation admission, the Court denies Colon’s Motion as

moot in light of the Government’s stipulation not to

introduce the challenged transcript or affidavit during its

case in chief.



B.

Expert Testimony



Colon argues that the Government’s expert is a

“witness with no personal knowledge about the facts of the

instant case as they relate to the Defendant’s possession

of a firearm,” and that Colon is “unaware of any witness

who could truthfully say that he possessed a firearm at any

time or in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.” (Doc.

# 56 at 5-6). Additionally, Colon cites United States v.

Emmanuel, 565 F.3d 1324, 1335-36 (11th Cir. 2009), to

support his contention that, although an experienced

narcotics agent may testify as an expert to help a jury

understand the significance of certain conduct or methods

unique to the drug distribution business, such testimony

“may unfairly provide the government with an additional

summation by having the expert interpret the evidence, and

may come dangerously close to invading the province of the

jury.” Id.



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Federal Rule of Evidence 703, which governs the

acceptable bases of an expert’s opinion testimony, is

specifically excepted from the “personal knowledge”

requirement of Rule 602. While a non-expert witness “may

testify to a matter only if evidence is introduced

sufficient to support a finding that the witness has

personal knowledge of the matter,” Fed. R. Evid. 602, “an

expert may base an opinion on facts or data in the case

that the expert has been made aware of or personally

observed,” Fed. R. Evid. 703. Accordingly, an expert’s

lack of personal knowledge does not warrant exclusion of

expert opinion testimony.



Additionally, based on the information before the

Court at this juncture, the Court finds no indication that

the expert’s testimony will improperly “invade the province

of the jury,” as Colon claims. Because the Government’s

witness may properly testify as to methods unique to the

drug distribution business, see United States v. Butler,

102 F.3d 1191, 1199 (11th Cir. 1997), including the role

that firearms play in that business, Colon’s Motion in

Limine is denied as to the “expert testimony regarding drug

dealing activity.”



Accordingly, it is



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ORDERED, ADJUDGED, and DECREED:



Defendant Joel Colon’s Motion in Limine (Doc. # 56) is

DENIED.



DONE and ORDERED in Chambers, in Tampa, Florida, this

30th day of July, 2013.



















Copies: All Counsel of Record

































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