United States v. Bowen - United States Court Of Appeals For The Sixth Circuit

United States v. Bowen

By United States Court Of Appeals For The Sixth Circuit

  • Release Date: 1974-07-16
  • Genre: Law
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United States v. Bowen United States Court Of Appeals For The Sixth Circuit Book Review Score: ★★★★★ 5/5 stars

This is an appeal from a conviction in a jury trial of a fifty-six year old man who received a nine-year sentence for causing to be transported in interstate commerce three falsely made and forged checks, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2314. On appeal, it is contended, first, that the trial court committed reversible error by permitting the prosecution to impeach appellant on cross-examination by asking him if he had ever been convicted of a felony. However, after appellant responded yes to this question, the district court instructed the jury, specifically, that the question has nothing to do with the substantive offense alleged in this charge, and you may not consider it for any purpose other than the question of [appellant's] credibility. This introduction of evidence of prior felony convictions for the limited purpose of impeaching a criminal defendant who voluntarily has taken the witness stand is consistent with the traditional rule of law recognized in this country. See, e.g., McGautha v. United States, 402 U.S. 183, 213-17, 28 L. Ed. 2d 711, 91 S. Ct. 1454 (1971); Spencer v. Texas, 385 U.S. 554, 561, 17 L. Ed. 2d 606, 87 S. Ct. 648 (1967); United States v. Palumbo, 401 F.2d 270 (2d Cir. 1968), cert. denied, 394 U.S. 947, 22 L. Ed. 2d 480, 89 S. Ct. 1281 (1969); United States v. Remco, 388 F.2d 783 (3d Cir. 1968); Singleton v. United States, 381 F.2d 1 (9th Cir. 1967); United States v. Eggebrecht, 486 F.2d 136 (8th Cir. 1973). We are not persuaded by appellant's contentions that a different rule is constitutionally mandated on grounds that this procedure violated appellant's constitutional rights against self-incrimination, to a trial by an impartial jury, and to equal protection and due process of law. And we decline at this time to reconsider the traditional rule as a matter of our supervisory power over criminal trials in this circuit.

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