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United States of America v. Joseph P. Donahue

July 12, 2012

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
JOSEPH P. DONAHUE, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Caputo

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the Court are a number of pretrial motions filed by Defendant Joseph P. Donahue. (Docs. 13; 14; 20; 21; 22; 41; 46; 53; 66; 98.) For the foregoing reasons, Defendant's motions will be granted in part and denied in part.

I. Background

The facts are as set forth in the Government's Brief in Opposition to Suppression of Evidence Seized Pursuant to Search of Vehicle (Doc. 49) and Defendant's Brief in Support of his Supplemental Motions. (Doc. 99.)

In 2008, a criminal prosecution was initiated against Joseph P. Donahue ("Donahue") after a federal grand jury returned a multi-count indictment against him in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. (Doc. 49.) The case proceeded to trial and a jury found Donahue guilty of all charges contained in the superceding indictment. (Id.) Donahue appeared before the Honorable James M. Munley on December 2, 2010 for sentencing. (Id.) Donahue was sentenced to a term of incarceration of 121 months and was ordered to surrender to the Federal Bureau of Prisons or the United States Marshal Service on January 4, 2011 to commence his sentence of imprisonment. (Id.)

Donahue failed to surrender on January 4, 2011. (Doc. 99.) As such, the United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania obtained a warrant for Donahue's arrest. (Id.)

On January 20, 2011, the United States Marshal Service in Las Cruces, New Mexico, was advised that Donahue was in the Las Cruces area and that he had an outstanding warrant for his arrest. (Id.) Later that day, a vehicle associated with Donahue was located in the parking lot of the Plaza Suites hotel. (Id.) Deputy United States Marshall (D.U.S.M.) Steven Archuleta contacted hotel management and set up a surveillance of the vehicle. (Id.) A short time later, Donahue was observed walking towards the car. (Id.)

Donahue opened the car door and sat down, but while his legs were partially outside the vehicle, he was called out of the car by D.U.S.M. Archuleta. (Id.) Donahue was arrested without incident and a search of his person revealed a large amount of cash and a hotel room key. (Docs. 49; 99.) D.U.S.M. Archuleta then used the seized key to gain access to Donahue's hotel room without first obtaining a search warrant. (Doc. 99.) Furthermore, D.U.S.M. Sharon Summa advised D.U.S.M. Archuleta to seize Donahue's vehicle and all his property as evidence. (Id.)

The vehicle was towed to the United States Marshal's secured parking area where the vehicle was photographed and evidence was gathered. (Id.) The evidence included a black suitcase, a large black nylon bag, and a black and blue gym bag. (Id.) All three bags were closed. (Id.)

The next day, the FBI seized Donahue's vehicle and arrangements were made for D.U.S.M. Archuleta to turn over the seized evidence to FBI Special Agent Alfredo Viera. (Id.) On January 25, 2011, D.U.S.M. Archuleta and Special Agent Viera met to inventory the evidence in the possession of the Marshals. (Doc. 49.) While inventorying the contents of the bags, a .40 caliber handgun was found inside the gym bag. (Id.)

As a result of these events, Donahue was charged with failure to surrender in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 3416. Now, Donahue has filed a number of motions for discovery and suppression of evidence. As the time to brief these motions has expired, they are now ripe for disposition.

II. Discussion

A. Motion for Notice of Rule 404(b) Evidence (Doc. 13)

Donahue seeks a Court order requiring the Government to provide pretrial notice of its intention to rely upon other crimes, wrongs, acts, and misconduct evidence at trial.

Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b) permits the admission of evidence of other crimes, wrongs or acts for certain enumerated purposes, provided that, upon request by the accused, the government shall provide reasonable notice in advance of trial of the general nature of any such evidence it intends to introduce at trial. In order to be admissible under Rule 404(b), (1) the evidence must have a proper purpose under Rule 404(b); (2) it must be relevant under Rules 401 and 402; (3) the probative value of the evidence must not be substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice under Rule 403; and (4) the court ...


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