United States v. Meadows, No. 15-3045 (D.C. Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's pre-trial motion to dismiss the indictment for prosecutorial vindictiveness, and in permitting the government to make improper statements at trial. Defendant was convicted of fraudulently obtaining unemployment benefits from the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services. Assuming arguendo that a presumption of vindictiveness were warranted, the court held that the district court rightly concluded that the government met its burden of producing objective evidence justifying the prosecution's charging decisions. The court also held that no precedent or legal norm barred prosecutors from eliciting testimony about a dismissal motion when a defendant opens the door in the manner that defendant did. Nor did the references to the denied motion to dismiss prejudice defendant because any prejudice was extinguished by the district court's instruction. Finally, the prosecutor's statement that there was "one in nearly 60 million" possibility that there must have been a computer glitch was nothing more than a rhetorical flourish and there was no plain error in this case.