United States v. Pepin, No. 06-1462-cr (2d Cir. February 6, 2008) (Walker, Calabresi, Sack, CJJ)
Humberto Pepin is awaiting a capital trial in the Eastern District of New York, where he is charged, inter alia, with murdering two individuals who crossed him, in ways real or imagined, in the course of his drug dealing enterprise. In a series of pretrial rulings, Judge Weinstein (1) precluded from the penalty phase evidence that Pepin had abused his girlfriend’s children and (2) precluded from both the guilt and penalty phases evidence that Pepin dismembered his victims after he killed them. The government appealed, and the circuit affirmed on the child abuse, but reversed on the dismemberment.
Judge Weinstein held primarily that the evidence of the child abuse, a non-statutory aggravator, was not relevant to future dangerousness, the theory relied on by the government in the death notice. The judge reasoned that, …