United States v. Jones, No. 17-2818 (7th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Jones took off running as officers in an unmarked police car approached. Officers Milone and Dillman gave chase, identifying themselves as police officer. At trial, Milone testified that, using a flashlight, he observed Jones holding his waistband while running, then observed Jones reach into his pocket, grab a firearm, and throw it over a fence. Dillman stated that he heard the gun hitting the ground. A gun was recovered behind the fence. Jones was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm as a felon, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1). The government successfully moved to preclude cross‐examination of Milone based on testimony he gave in another case (Brantley), pertaining to an armed robbery investigation, and his observations of the defendant from about 80 feet away. The Brantley judge concluded that he did not believe Milone was able to identify the subject from this distance, based on the squad video and photographs showing the amount of light, and an investigator’s testimony that she was unable to see anything from the same location. The judge emphasized that he was not suggesting that Milone testified untruthfully, but that his testimony reflected an inaccurate recollection. The Seventh Circuit affirmed his conviction. The probative values of allowing cross-examination of Milone based on Brantly would have been substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice and confusion of the issues. The court also rejected a claim of prosecutorial misconduct by “vouching” for Milone’s testimony.