A federal appeals court has confirmed that Red Sox fans can be fair-minded jurors, even if they're deciding the fate of a man who was identified by witnesses because of the Yankees cap he wore.
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly points us to the decision in the case of David Alcantara, a Rhode Island man sentenced to five years in federal prison after being convicted last year of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and conspiracy to pass counterfeit currency. Alcantara appealed the conviction, arguing, among other things, that repeated references to his hat choice prejudiced his Rhode Island jurors.
In a recent ruling, however, the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston said New Englanders are better than that:
[Alcantara] argues that a handful of references to his wearing a New York Yankees baseball cap prejudiced the jury (which he assumes to have been composed of Boston Red Sox fans) against him. As an initial matter, all but two of the cited references occurred during defense counsel's cross-examination. In any event, this testimony, like the references to luxury vehicles discussed above, was relevant to the witnesses' knowledge of Alcantara and his appearance. Any possibility of unfair prejudice was ameliorated when the district court explicitly instructed the Rhode Island jury not to hold Alcantara's wearing of a Yankees hat against him.