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United States v. Butler

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

June 7, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
JULIUS ROBERT BUTLER, Defendant

          MEMORANDUM

          KANE, JUDGE

         Presently before the Court are Defendant Julius Robert Butler (“Defendant”)'s motion to dismiss the indictment, or in the alternative, for a bill of particulars (Doc. No. 44), and motion for disclosure of discovery material (Doc. No. 50). For the reasons explained herein, the Court will deny the motions.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On March 14, 2018, a federal grand jury returned a single-count indictment charging Defendant with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine hydrochloride in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841. (Doc. No. 1 at 1-2.)[1] The indictment alleges that “[f]rom on or about January 2015 through on or about December 2017, in York County, within the Middle District of Pennsylvania and elsewhere, ” Defendant “knowingly and intentionally combined, conspired, confederated[, ] and agreed with other persons, known and unknown to the Grand Jury, to commit the following offense against the United States”:

to distribute and possess with intent to distribute one kilogram and more of a mixture and substance containing heroin, 500 grams and more of a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine and a mixture and substance containing an unspecified quantity of cocaine hydrochloride, all Scheduled controlled substances, in violation of Title 21 United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(A)(i), (viii)[, ] and 841(b)(1)(C). All in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846.

(Id.)

         On March 28, 2018, Defendant entered a plea of not guilty as to this charge. (Doc. No. 11.) In May of 2018, Defendant filed several discovery-related motions. (Doc. Nos. 17-19, 21-23.) In sum, Defendant sought the following: materials to be produced by the Government under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 16 (Doc. No. 17 at 2-3); information as to the identify of confidential informants and/or cooperating witnesses (Doc. No. 18 at 1); an order for a pretrial evidentiary hearing pertaining to the existence of a conspiracy (Doc. No. 19 at 1); information under Rule 16(a)(1)(G) describing the Government's expert witnesses' opinions and qualifications (Doc. No. 21 at 1); grand jury transcripts produced under Rule 6(3)(e)(C)(ii) (Doc. No. 22 at 1-2); and materials to be disclosed under Federal Rule of Evidence 807 (Doc. No. 23 at 1-2).

         Following a telephone conference with the parties on September 21, 2018 (Doc. No. 34), the Court issued an order that: granted Defendant's motion for disclosure of discovery materials pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 16; denied Defendant's motion for disclosure of confidential informants without prejudice to Defendant's ability to renew this request upon receipt of the materials disclosed per Rule 16; denied Defendant's motion for a hearing to determine the existence of a conspiracy; directed the Government to provide certain co-conspirator statements to Defendant “consistent with its standard practice in advance of trial”; granted Defendant's motion for disclosure of expert information; denied Defendant's motion for grand jury transcripts as moot; and granted Defendant's motion for discovery pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 807 to the extent that the Government intends to introduce evidence under Rule 807. (Doc. No. 35.) In addition, the Order scheduled a follow-up telephonic status conference (Doc. No. 35 at 1), which the Court canceled on October 22, 2018, upon notification from the parties that a status conference was no longer necessary. Following the Court's disposition of Defendant's various motions and the parties' representation that an additional phone conference to discuss these discovery-related issues was unnecessary, the Court ordered that the case be listed for jury selection and trial.

         On February 18, 2019, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the indictment, or, in the alternative, for a bill of particulars (Doc. No. 44), and on March 25, 2019, jury selection and trial were continued pending the disposition of this motion pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 3161(h)(1)(D) and 3161(h)(7)(A) (Doc. No. 48). On April 3, 2019, Defendant filed a motion for disclosure of certain discovery materials in a different criminal action in which he is not a defendant, docketed at No. 1:17-cr-342. (Doc. No. 50.) Because both motions are either fully briefed or the applicable time period for filing a brief in reply has passed, the motions are ripe for disposition.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A. Motion to Dismiss Indictment Pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12(b)(3)

         Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12(b) authorizes a defendant to file various pretrial motions, including a motion that alleges “a defect in the indictment or information.” See Fed. R. Crim. P. 12(b)(3). Under this rule, a defendant may file such a motion on any of the following grounds:

(i) joining two or more offenses in the same count (duplicity);
(ii) charging the same offense in more than one count (multiplicity);
(iii) lack of specificity;
(iv) improper joinder; and
(v) failure to state an ...

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