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United States v. Antoine

United States District Court, D. Colorado

January 14, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
2. SPENCER ANTOINE, Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR A BILL OF PARTICULARS (DOC. # 558) AND DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR THE EARLY PRODUCTION OF SPECIFIC JENCKS MATERIAL (DOC. # 559)

          CHRISTINE M. ARGUELLO, United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Spencer Antoine's (1) Motion for a Bill of Particulars or in the Alternative to Dismiss the Indictment, and (2) Motion for the Early Production of Specific Jencks Material. (Doc. ## 558, 559.) For the following reasons, the Court denies both Motions.

         I. INDICTMENT

         The Indictment in this case charges Mr. Antoine with twenty-six total counts for his alleged role in a large drug conspiracy. He has been charged as follows:

• Count 1: Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute 280 grams or more of cocaine base (crack), and 500 grams or more of cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A)(iii), (b)(1)(B)(II)(ii) and 846. Among other things, this Count includes the dates of the offense (on or about and between February 1, 2016 and March 29, 2017); the location (within the State and District of Colorado and elsewhere); and the participants involved (all 22 Defendants).
• Count 3: Distribution and Possession with Intent to Distribute 28 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(B)(iii). This Count also includes the date (February 18, 2016) and location (Colorado) of the offense.
• Count 5: Distribution and Possession with Intent to Distribute a Mixture and Substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine base (crack), and aiding and abetting the same, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(C) and 18 U.S.C. § 2. Again, this Count includes the date (March 18, 2016) and location (Colorado) of the offense. It does not include a specific drug quantity.
• Counts 13, 14, 19, 21-23, 25, 28, 31, 33-36: Distribution and Possession with Intent to Distribute a Mixture and Substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine base (crack), in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(C). Each of these Counts includes the date, location, and participants in the offense, but not the specific drug quantity involved.
• Counts 15-17, 24, 29, 32: Use of a communication device to commit a drug trafficking felony, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 843(b). Each of these Counts includes the date, location, and participants in the offense, but not the specific drug quantity involved.
• Counts 18, 26, 27, 30: Distribution and Possession with Intent to Distribute a Mixture and Substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(C). Again, each of these Counts includes the date, location, and participants in the offense, but not the specific drug quantity involved.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         An indictment is held only to minimal constitutional standards, and the sufficiency of an indictment is judged “by practical rather than technical considerations.” United States v. Dashney, 117 F.3d 1197, 1205 (10th Cir.1997). “An indictment is sufficient ‘if it contains the elements of the offense charged, putting the defendant on fair notice of the charge against which he must defend and if it enables a defendant to assert an acquittal or conviction in order to prevent being placed in jeopardy twice for the same offense.'” United States v. Poole, 929 F.2d 1476, 1479 (10th Cir. 1991) (quoting United States v. Staggs, 881 F.2d 1527, 1530 (10th Cir. 1989), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 1020 (1990)). In the Tenth Circuit, it is usually enough for the indictment to track the statute when the statute adequately expresses all of the elements to the offense. United States v. Dunn, 841 F.2d 1026, 1029 (10th Cir.1988).

         “The purpose of a bill of particulars is to inform the defendant of the charge against him with sufficient precision to allow him to prepare his defense.” United States v. Ivy, 83 F.3d 1266, 1281 (10th Cir.) (quotation omitted), cert. denied, 519 U.S. 901 (1996). It serves to minimize the defendant's surprise to the substantive facts of the charges, not the evidentiary basis of the charge. See Wong Tai v. United States, 273 U.S. 77 (1927); United States v. Hopkins, 716 F.2d 739, 745 (10th Cir. 1982). “Unless the request for the bill of particulars shows, on its face, that failure to grant the request would result in prejudicial surprise, the preclusion of an opportunity for meaningful defense preparation, [or double jeopardy problems, ] defendant has the burden of showing [by brief, affidavit or otherwise] that his or her request meets one of the three criteria.” United States v. Anderson, 31 F.Supp.2d 933, 938 (D.Kan. 1998) (citing United States v. Wright, 826 F.2d 938, 943 (10th Cir.1987) (alterations in original). The district court has broad discretion in deciding a motion for bill of particulars. United States v. Edmonson, 962 F.2d 1535, 1541 (10th Cir.1992).

         In exercising its discretion, the trial court must remain mindful of the parameters placed on a bill of particulars. Though it may provide more information, a bill of particulars is not intended to serve as a discovery device or to compel the government's disclosure of the factual proof planned for trial. Dunn, 841 F.2d at 1029. A defendant is not entitled to notice of “all the evidence the government intends to produce, but only the theory of the government's case.” United States v. Levine, 983 F.2d 165, 167 (10th Cir. 1992). Nor is it a way to require the government's explanation of the legal theories expected at trial. United States v. Gabriel, 715 F.2d 1447, 1449 (10th Cir. 1983). Evidentiary detail is not a proper request for a bill of particulars. United States v. Barbieri, 614 F.2d 715, 719 (10th ...


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