United States v. Mundy, No. 06-1190-cr (2d Cir. August 21, 2008) (Kearse, Leval, Cabranes, CJJ).
In this decision, the court all but eliminates the “flight as consciousness of guilt” jury instruction from Second Circuit jurisprudence.
The facts here were somewhat unusual because it was the the defendant who sought the instruction with respect to a co-defendant. The defendant was trying to bolster his argument that drugs and guns in they apartment where they were both arrested belonged to the other guy. Naturally, the government objected.
On appeal, the circuit held that district court did not err in refusing to give the instruction. But it also went on to map out the multitude of reasons why such an instruction, if objected to, should not be given, regardless of which party is seeking it.
First, there are many inferences that can be drawn from a person’s flight and, while the standard instruction …