United States District Court, D. Utah
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S
MOTION IN LIMINE
Nuffer United States District Judge.
Pedro Alberto Hernandez filed a motion in limine
(“Motion”) to exclude aspects of the testimony of
Brad Cox, Ryan Bauer, and Cole Douglas. For each of the
following reasons, the Motion will be DENIED without
Hernandez seeks to preclude Cox from testifying about
“the business of trafficking in methamphetamine”
because, according to Hernandez, this “is not relevant
to any factual issue in the case.” “Evidence
is relevant if: (a) it has any tendency to make a fact more
or less probable than it would be without the evidence; and
(b) the fact is of consequence in determining the
action.” Because Cox's specialized knowledge
regarding the business of trafficking in methamphetamine may
help jurors understand the facts in this case,  his testimony
will not be excluded on this basis at this time.
Hernandez cites to United States v.
Robinson for the proposition that Cox's
testimony about the business of trafficking in
methamphetamine is “substantive evidence of
guilt” that should be excluded under Fed.R.Evid.
Instead of supporting Hernandez's position, Robinson
acknowledges that an expert may testify regarding
“alleged profile characteristics” to help jurors
understand the facts and the basis of the expert's
conclusions.While it is true that “[c]ourts have
condemned the use of profiles as substantive evidence of
guilt, ” “[r]ather than . . . classify evidence
into categories of profile or non-profile, . . . the better
approach is to . . . examin[e] the applicable rules of
evidence” to determine the admissibility of specific
evidence. Under Fed.R.Evid. 702, specialized
knowledge is admissible “if it will assist the trier of
fact in understanding the evidence.” Because Cox's
specialized knowledge regarding the business of trafficking
in methamphetamine may help jurors understand the facts in
this case, his testimony will not be excluded on this basis
at this time.
Hernandez argues that “there is no indication of any
need for expert assistance” regarding drug trafficking
“terminology.” But the admissibility of
expert testimony is not dependent on its necessity. It is
dependent on its helpfulness. Because Cox's specialized
knowledge regarding drug-trade terminology may help jurors
understand the facts in this case, his testimony will not be
excluded on this basis at this time.
Hernandez asserts that Cox should be prohibited from
testifying about drug trafficking “sources”
because “it's hard to see how information about
‘sources' will help the jury.” Because
Cox's testimony may help jurors understand why and how
drug dealers conceal and transport methamphetamine,
it will not be excluded on this basis at this time.
Bauer and Cole are, according to Cox, “ordinary
policemen” who have not been proffered as experts and
“must be prohibited from” offering opinions
“based on specialized training” under Fed.R.Evid.
701. Rule 701 allows a lay witness to testify
in the form of an opinion if the testimony is: “(a)
rationally based on the witness's perception; (b) helpful
to clearly understanding the witness's testimony or to
determining a fact in issue; and (c) not based on scientific,
technical, or other specialized knowledge . . .
.” So long as any opinion testimony that
Bauer or Cole may eventually offer complies with these
limitations, it will not be excluded under Rule
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Motion is DENIED without
 Motion in Limine to Exclude Expert and
Lay Testimony (“Motion”), docket no. 67, filed
April 26, 2019; see Response to Defendant's Motion in
Limine to Exclude Improper Expert and Lay Testimony
(“Response”), docket no. 68, filed May 3,
 Motion, supra note 1, at 4.