United States v. Brackeen
969 F.2d 827 (1992)
- Brackeen was arrested and charged with robbing three
- In the first robbery, Brackeen operated with an
accomplice named Moore, who had a gun, in the second two he operated
alone and unarmed.
- Brackeen pleaded guilty to the second two robberies, but
for the first robbery, he claimed that he did know that Moore was armed.
- Armed robbery had much higher punishments than unarmed
- At trial, Brackeen took the stand to testify. On
cross-examination, the prosecution attempted to introduce evidence of
Brackeen's two guilty pleas.
- Brackeen objected on the grounds that the evidence was
- The Trial Judge allowed the evidence to be admitted under FRE
- FRE 609(a)(2) allows for impeachment of a
defendant for any crime involving "dishonesty or false
- The prosecution argued that bank robbery is stealing,
which is inherently dishonest.
- The Trial Court found Brackeen guilty of the armed
robbery. He appealed.
- The Appellate Court reversed and remanded for a new trial.
- The Appellate Court found that the term "dishonesty"
only refers to those crimes involving deceit, such as perjury, fraud, or
- Since bank robbery is not a crime of deceit, evidence of
a prior conviction for bank robbery cannot be admitted under FRE
- It could be admitted under FRE 609(a)(1), but
there would need to be a balancing test to determine if the evidence's
probative value outweighed it's prejudicial effect.