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United States of America v. Kaboni Savage

March 5, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
KABONI SAVAGE
ROBERT MERRITT STEVEN NORTHINGTON
KIDADA SAVAGE



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Surrick, J.

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the Court is Defendant Robert Merritt's Motion for Discovery in Support of Motion to Strike the Current Jury Panel (ECF No. 869). For the following reasons, Defendant's Motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

I. BACKGROUND

The factual background of this case is more fully set forth in our January 9, 2013 Memorandum and Order denying Defendant Robert Merritt's Motion in Limine to Exclude Evidence of Cell Block Conversations recorded on January 5, 2005 and Motion to Suppress Evidence of Cell Block Conversations Recorded on January 5, 2005. (See ECF Nos. 886, 887.) By way of general background, on May 9, 2012, a federal grand jury returned a seventeen-count Fourth Superseding Indictment (the "Indictment") charging Defendant Robert Merritt with: conspiracy to participate in the affairs of a racketeering ("RICO") enterprise, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) (Count 1); conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(5) (Count 9); six counts of murder in aid of racketeering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(1) (Counts 10-15); retaliating against a witness, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1513 (Count 16); and using fire to commit a felony, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 844(h)(1) (Count 17). (Indictment, ECF No. 480.)

On February 20, 2012, Defendant Steven Northington filed a Motion for Discovery of Information Concerning the Confection of the Grand and Petit Jury Venire. (ECF No. 372.) On October 2, 2012, the Court entered a Memorandum and Order, granting in part and denying in part, Defendant's Motion for Discovery. (See ECF Nos. 639, 640.) The Court granted discovery of The Plan of the Random Selection of Grand and Petit Jurors of 1968 for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (revised December 4, 2009) (the "Jury Plan") and statistical breakdowns by race and ethnicity of Master and Qualified Jury Wheels from 2007, 2009, and 2011. (Discovery Order, ECF No. 640.) On November 6, 2012, Defendant Steven Northington filed a Motion to Increase Pool of Prospective Jurors and to Strike the Current Jury Panel. (Def.'s Jury Mot., ECF No. 701.) On January 28, 2013, the Court entered a Memorandum and Order denying Defendant's Motion to Increase Pool of Prospective Jurors and to Strike the Current Jury Panel. (Jury Mem., ECF Nos. 969, 970.) On December 31, 2012, Defendant filed the instant Motion for Discovery in Support of Motion to Strike the Current Jury Panel (Def.'s Mot., ECF No. 869.) The Government has not filed a response to Defendant's Discovery Motion.

II. DISCUSSION

Defendant seeks discovery concerning the confection of the venire from which the grand jury in this case was selected and from which the petit jury was also selected. (Def.'s Mot. 3-4.) He alleges that the Eastern District of Pennsylvania's use of voter registration lists to create a pool of eligible jurors "is inadequate to satisfy the constitutional requirement that a jury be comprised of a fair cross-section of the community racially, by gender, and socio- economically." (Id. at 5.) Defendant has retained the services of an expert who has concluded that there is "evidence of a substantial disparity" between African-Americans living in the Eastern District and those represented on the current jury panel. (Id. at 7.) Defendant asserts that additional discovery is needed to determine whether this disparity is the result of using voter registration lists as the only source to draw juries. (Id.) Defendant requests that the following information be provided to his expert by the Clerk of the Court to support his Motion to Strike the Current Jury Panel:

(a) The Source Lists for the compilation of jury panels in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for 2007, 2009, and 2011 and the date to which each applied, including the voter lists from each of the counties of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and whatever data is available regarding the sex, age and race or Hispanic status of each voter;

(b) The actual Master list compiled for 2007, 2009, and 2011;

(c) The records of which names on the Master List were mailed questionnaires, the number of times each were mailed (if there was no immediate response to the first mailing) and the disposition of the mailing, i.e., whether the questionnaire was returned by prospective juror, returned by Post Office, or not returned. This data should include the address to which the questionnaire was mailed and any other information from the voter lists;

(d) The Qualified List in 2007, 2009, and 2011. This data should include which potential jurors were qualified, which were disqualified, and which were deferred. This data should also include all responses to the jury questionnaire used for qualification, including race, Hispanic status, sex and age, as well as address;

(e) The mailing of summons and the disposition of those mailings for 2007, 2009, and 2011, including any disqualifications or deferments that resulted and the reasons such were granted;

(f) The monthly petit term list as of the end of each month from September 1, 2008 through to the date of the trial including Juror Index Number;

(g) The venire panels from September 1, 2008 through the date that of the trial, including ...


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