Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Curtis

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

August 30, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
JERROD CURTIS, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM

          A. Richard Caputo United States District Judge.

         Presently before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss the Indictment filed by Defendant Jerrod Curtis (“Defendant”). This motion will be denied because the Indictment cites the charging statute, alleges the necessary elements of the charged offense, and specifies a time period during which the alleged violations occurred. In the alternative, Defendant requests that the Government be ordered to file a bill of particulars. Because the Indictment and accompanying Affidavit sufficiently state the essential facts constituting the offense charged and provide the information requested by Defendant, Defendant’s Motion for a Bill of Particulars will be denied.

         I. Factual & Procedural Background[1]

         Defendant Jerrod Curtis was charged by a criminal complaint with one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin as docketed by this Court on December 27, 2016. (Doc. 1). Weeks later, on January 17, 2017, a federal grand jury returned a one-count Indictment charging Defendant with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). (Doc. 18). Count One of the Indictment alleges:

From on or about February 20, 2016, to on or about April 6, 2016, in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, the defendant, Jerrod Curtis, did knowingly and intentionally possess with intent to distribute heroin, a Schedule I controlled substance. In violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1).

         (Doc. 18, at 1). Defendant was arraigned on February 7, 2017 and pled not guilty to the charged offense. (Doc. 24).

         On February 21, 2017, Defendant, through counsel, filed a Motion to Dismiss the Indictment and in the alternative a Motion for a Bill of Particulars. (Doc. 31). The Government filed its Brief in Opposition on April 3, 2017. (Doc. 38). Defendant did not file a Reply Brief. Defendant’s Motions are ripe for disposition.

         II. Discussion

         A. Motion to Dismiss

         Defendant moves to dismiss the Indictment pursuant to Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure 7(c) and 12(b) claiming that the Indictment is deficient in that it lacks sufficient detail to “appraise the defendant of what he must be prepared to meet.” (Doc. 23, at 1). The Government disagrees and argues that the Indictment sufficiently states the essential facts constituting the offense charged. (Doc. 38, at 1).

         Rule 7(c)(1) provides that “[t]he indictment or information must be a plain, concise, and definite written statement of the essential facts constituting the offense charged and must be signed by an attorney for the government.” Fed.R.Crim.P. 7(c)(1). Rule 12(b)(3)(B) permits a defendant to seek dismissal for any “defect in the indictment” prior to trial. Fed.R.Crim.P. 12(b)(3)(B).

         The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has held that an indictment is compliant with Rule 7, is facially sufficient, and is not subject to dismissal if it “(1) contains the elements of the offense intended to be charged, (2) sufficiently apprises the defendant of what he must be prepared to meet, and (3) allows the defendant to show with accuracy to what extent he may plead a former acquittal or conviction in the event of a subsequent prosecution.” United States v. Huet, 665 F.3d 588, 595 (3d Cir. 2012) (internal citation omitted). “Generally, an indictment will satisfy these requirements where it informs the defendant of the statute he is charged with violating, lists the elements of the violation under the statute, and specifies the time period during which the violations occurred.” Id. (citing United States v. Urban, 404 F.3d 754, 771 (3d Cir. 2005)). In other words, the indictment may not be dismissed “unless it is so defective that it does not, by any reasonable construction, charge an offense . . . .” United States v. Vitillo, 490 F.3d 314, 324 (3d Cir. 2007) (internal citation omitted).

         Here, dismissal is not warranted because the Indictment satisfies the requirements imposed by Rule 7(c) and thus is not defective. As required by the Third Circuit the indictment first sets forth the charging statute: 21 U.S.C. §841(a)(1). The Indictment then plainly alleges the elements of the charged offense. The elements of the charged offense are: (1) the Defendant possessed a controlled substance; (2) the Defendant had possessed the controlled substance knowingly or intentionally; and (3) the Defendant intended to distribute the controlled substance. See 21 U.S.C. §841(a)(1); United States v. Barbosa, 271 F.3d 438, 456-57 (3d Cir. 2001) (noting that even following Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000), the identity and weight of the charged controlled substance is not a necessary element of a § 841(a)(1) offense); see also Third Circuit Model Criminal Jury Instructions, 6.21.841A (Apr. 2015). The Indictment alleges, in part, that “the defendant, Jerrod Curtis, did knowingly and intentionally possess with intent to distribute heroin, a Schedule I controlled substance.” (Doc. 18, at 1). This statement, taken alone, sufficiently sets out the four elements of the charged offense. Moreover, the indictment has clearly identified the controlled substance at issue: heroin. Due to the identification of the controlled substance at issue, Defendant is incorrect when he states that the Indictment “merely parrots the wording of the statute . . . [and] contains no other facts and circumstances regarding the specific conduct for which [Defendant] is charged.” (Doc. 32, at 2). Finally, the indictment clearly states the time period during which the violations occurred: February 20, 2016 to April 6, 2016. In fact, Defendant has conceded this point in his brief. (Doc 32, at 2). Because the Indictment “informs the defendant of the statute he is charged with violating, lists the elements of the violation under the statute, and specifies the time period during which the violations occurred,” the Indictment will be found to satisfy the requirements of Rule 7(c). Huet, 665 F.3d at 595.

         Since the Indictment conforms with the requirements of Rule 7(c) as interpreted by the Third Circuit and Defendant has failed to show that the Indictment is otherwise “so defective that it does not, by any reasonable ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.