United States v. Earth, No. 19-1555 (8th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction of assault with a dangerous weapon. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting hearsay evidence by admitting certain statements. The court explained that the government did not introduce the statements to prove the truth of the matters asserted, and thus the statements were not hearsay and were properly admitted into evidence. Although the court found defendant's statements at the hospital should not have been admitted, the error was harmless. The court concluded that any improperly admitted hearsay testimony did not influence or had a slight influence on the verdict.
The court also held that the district court did not err in rejecting the proposed self-defense jury instruction, and in giving the 8th Circuit Model Jury instruction on self-defense. Finally, the evidence was sufficient to support defendant's conviction for assault with a dangerous weapon.