United States v. Monsalvatge, No. 14-1113 (2d Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Defendants Monsalvatge, Byam, and Dunkley appealed their convictions stemming from their armed robberies of two Pay‐O‐Matic check‐cashing stores. A summary order filed simultaneously with this opinion addressed the balance of defendants' claims on appeal. At issue here was Monsalvatge's claims, which Dunkley joined, regarding whether the district court abused its discretion in admitting into evidence at trial four clips from the 2010 film, The Town. The Government argued that defendants altered their modus operandi to carry out the second robbery in a manner resembling robberies depicted in the movie. The court concluded that the district court's ruling to admit the clips was not arbitrary and irrational; the clips were relevant to the issues and defendants in the case and, importantly, they were short and narrowly tailored; and the district court provided not one but two curative instructions to minimize any potential for prejudice from the few differences between the clips and the 2012 robbery. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgments of conviction as to Monsalvatge and Byam; affirmed Counts One, Four, and Five as to Dunkley; and reversed Counts Two and Three as to Dunkley. The court remanded for resentencing as to Dunkley.