UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Case No. 8:13-cr-86-T-33EAJ
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.
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).
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.
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
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
Accordingly, it is
ORDERED, ADJUDGED, and DECREED:
Defendant Joel Colon’s Motion in Limine (Doc. # 56) is
DONE and ORDERED in Chambers, in Tampa, Florida, this
30th day of July, 2013.
Copies: All Counsel of Record