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United States v. Sampson

November 12, 2008

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
EARL SAMPSON, DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge McClure

MEMORANDUM

BACKGROUND

On September 27, 2007, a Grand Jury returned an indictment against Earl Sampson and thirteen (13) other individuals. Count One of the indictment charged Sampson, and his co-defendants, with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute, more than five (5) grams of cocaine base known as crack and more than 500 grams of cocaine within protected zones, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 860. Sampson and his co-defendants were also charged with drug trafficking counts, in violation of 21. U.S.C. §§ 846(a)(1) and 860. Arrest warrants were issued by the Court. Upon arraignment, Sampson entered a plea of not guilty.

A sealed First Superseding Indictment was entered on October 11, 2007. This indictment named three additional defendants and charged Sampson with a new crime, conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than fifty (50) grams of cocaine base known as crack, more than 500 grams of cocaine and an undetermined amount of marijuana, in protected zones, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 860. Sampson was arraigned and entered a plea of not guilty.

On October 27, 2007, a Second Superseding Indictment was returned. This indictment named an additional defendant and expanded the time frame of the alleged conspiracy. Sampson was arraigned and pled not guilty to the First and Second Superseding Indictments.

On August 14, 2008, a Third Superseding Indictment was returned. This indictment included additional defendants and charges and expanded the time frame of the alleged conspiracy, but added no new charges against the defendant. He was arraigned and pled not guilty.

On September 18, 2008, Sampson filed this "Motion For Severance". (Rec. Doc. No. 516). A supporting brief was filed with the motion. Opposing and reply briefs have been filed. This motion is ripe for disposition.

DISCUSSION

Motion to Sever

Sampson seeks Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 14 severance on the grounds that he was improperly joined with the other defendants and that joinder is unduly prejudicial in this instance. The government contends that joinder is proper in this case and that Sampson has failed to show that she is or would be prejudiced by the joinder.

Rule 8(b) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure states as follows:

(b) Joinder of Defendants. The indictment or information may charge 2 or more defendants if they are alleged to have participated in the same act or transaction, or in the same series of acts or transactions, constituting an offense or offenses. The defendants may be charged in one or more counts together or separately. All defendants need not be charged in each count. Fed. R. Crim. P. 8(b). Rule 14(a) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure states in relevant part as follows:

(a) Relief. If the joinder of . . . defendants in an indictment . . . appears to prejudice a defendant or the government, the court may . . . sever the defendants' trials, or ...


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