United States v. Underwood, No. 16-3548 (6th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Underwood’s step-granddaughter (Jane) told her mother that Underwood had sex with her in August 2014. According to Jane, she and her cousin (John) had gone on a work trip with Underwood in his semi-truck. Jane, John, and Underwood first went to Pennsylvania. After Underwood took John home, Underwood took Jane to Michigan with him. According to Jane, when they arrived in Michigan, Underwood sexually assaulted her. Jane’s mother took Jane to the local hospital and then to the Children’s Advocacy Center. John also accused Underwood of sexual misconduct and was taken to the Advocacy Center. Underwood was convicted of crossing a state line with intent to engage in a sexual act a minor, 18 U.S.C. 2241(c), and of transporting his step-granddaughter in interstate commerce with the intent that she engage in unlawful sexual activity, 18 U.S.C. 2423(a). The Sixth Circuit affirmed, rejecting Underwood’s argument that the district court erred in allowing his wife to testify at his trial, violating both the confidential marital communications privilege and the adverse spousal testimony privilege. The court rejected a claim that allowing Underwood’s daughter and the sexual assault nurse to testify violated Federal Rules of Evidence 403 and 803(4).