United States v. Manzano, No. 18-3430 (2d Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
The government petitioned for a writ of mandamus directing the district court to preclude defense counsel from arguing nullification and to exclude any evidence of sentencing consequences. In this case, respondent was charged with production of child pornography. The district court granted respondent's request to argue jury nullification, but reserved decision on the admissibility of evidence regarding the sentencing consequences of a conviction.
The Second Circuit held that the conditions for mandamus relief were satisfied with respect to the district court's nullification ruling, but not with respect to the admissibility of evidence of sentencing consequences. In this case, the court could not rule out the possibility that the admissibility of sentencing consequences will depend at lest in part on events that will unfold at trial. Therefore, in these circumstances and in light of the second Cheney condition, the court held that the district court's decision to defer ruling on the admissibility of sentencing consequences until after the commencement of trial was not clearly and indisputably outside the range of permissible decisions. Accordingly, the court denied the government's petition for a writ of mandamus directing the district court to preclude the introduction at trial of any evidence related to sentencing consequences, without prejudice to renewal following the district court's ultimate ruling on the motion to preclude.