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United States v. Williams

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


January 13, 2009

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL DENNIS WILLIAMS, ET AL, DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Ronald S.W. Lew Senior, U.S. District Court Judge

ORDER GRANTING GOVERNMENT'S MOTION TO QUASH SUBPOENAS ISSUED EX PARTE AND UNDER SEAL TO DEFENDANT ANTOINE LAMONT JOHNSON

On January 13, 2008, Government's Motion to Quash Subpoenas Issued Ex Parte and Under Seal came on for regular calendar before this Court. Plaintiff, United States of America, appeared through its counsel of record, Assistant United States Attorneys Elizabeth Yang and Karen Meyer. Defendant Johnson appeared with his counsel of record, Amy Jacks and Richard Lasting. The Court having reviewed all papers submitted pertaining to this Motion and having considered all arguments presented to the Court, NOW FINDS AND RULES

AS FOLLOWS:

The Government's Motion to Quash Subpoenas Issued Ex Parte and Under Seal to Defendant Antoine Lamont Johnson is GRANTED. The Court grants the Government's Motion to quash the subpoena issued to the LAPD for the investigative files of the Coleman/Tonodeo and KFC murders. Moreover, the Court modifies the January 18, 2006 Order to require that any subpoena returns be made to the Court.

"Rule 17 (c) was not intended to provide an additional means of discovery." Bowman Dairy Co. v. United States, 341 U.S. 214, 220 (1951). Additionally, a "...Rule 17(c) subpoena is not intended ... to allow a blind fishing expedition seeking unknown evidence. United States v. MacKey, 647 F.2d 898, 901 (9th Cir. 1981) (internal citations omitted). ".[I]n order to require production prior to trial, the moving party must show that the materials are relevant, admissible, and specific.*fn1 United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683, Use of Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 17(c) ("Rule 17(c)") to subpoena materials that are only being used for impeachment purposes is "generally insufficient to justify the pretrial production of documents." United States v. Fields, 663 F.2d 880, 881 (9th Cir. 1981). The subpoenaed materials are sought for the purpose of impeaching Witness 1 in regards to his possible involvement in four homicides, unrelated to the case at hand.*fn2 Therefore, it is inappropriate to require their pre-trial production.

Additionally, Defendant has made no showing that the requested documents are relevant or specific. Defendant has only shown that the evidence is useful to impeach Witness 1. As stated above, this is insufficient to allow pre-trial production of the information. Additionally, Defendant's request for both murder books in their entirety is too broad and nothing more than a fishing expedition for unknown evidence.*fn3

Lastly, this Court has inherent authority to ensure that Defendant has complied with the requirements of Rule 17(c) and Nixon. United States v. Beckford, 964 F. Supp. 1010, 1025 (E.D. Va. 1997).

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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