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United States v. Guzman-Torres

September 7, 2010

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SERGIO GUZMAN-TORRES (1), JOSE JARAMILLO-MENDEZ (2), DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hayes, Judge.

ORDER

The matters before the Court are the motion (#104) to deny material witness depositions filed by Defendant Jose Jaramillo-Mendez and the objections to material witness deposition (#102) filed by Defendant Sergio Guzman-Torres.

BACKGROUND

On September 22, 2009, three vans attempted to enter the United States from Mexico through lane three of the port of entry at San Ysidro. The Government alleges in the complaint that Defendant Sergio Guzman-Torres was the driver of one of the vans and that he accelerated in a reckless and dangerous manner in an attempt to run the port. The van contained twenty-five undocumented individuals from Mexico. The Government alleges that Defendant Jose Jaramillo-Mendez acted as the alien-smuggler.

Defendants were subsequently charged in a ten count indictment with four counts of Bringing in Illegal Aliens for financial gain in violation of 8 U.S.C. §1324(a)(2)(B)(ii), and four counts of bringing in illegal aliens for presentation and aiding and abetting in violation of 8 U.S.C. §1324(a)(2)(B)(iii). Defendant Guzman-Torres was charged with two counts of assault on a federal officer in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 111(a)(1) and (b).

Alberto Morales-Sanchez and Lorenzo Bautista-Romero were occupants of the van that Defendants were traveling in at the time of their arrest. Morales-Sanchez and Bautista-Romero are citizens of Mexico without permission to be in the United States and were held as material witnesses.

On September 25, 2009, the Magistrate Judge appointed counsel for material witnesses Morales-Sanchez and Bautista-Romero.

On October 2, 2009, the Magistrate Judge set bail for Morales-Sanchez and BautistaRomero at $5,000.00 personal security with ten percent cash deposit. Morales-Sanchez and Bautista-Romero remain in custody unable to post bond.

On October 28, 2009, counsel for Morales-Sanchez and Bautista-Romero filed a motion to compel a videotaped deposition and to release the witnesses because of an inability to obtain release from custody on bond.

On November 12, 2009, depositions were ordered for material witnesses Morales-Sanchez and Bautista-Romero. With the agreement of counsel for the material witnesses and for good cause shown, the depositions were continued by the Magistrate Judge to December 17, 2009, and to January 20, 2010. After a hearing, the Magistrate Judge ordered the depositions continued to February 18, 2010.

On February10, 2010, the federal grand jury returned a twelve count Superseding Indictment. In addition to the charges in the indictment, the superseding indictment charged the Defendant Jaramillo-Mendez with two counts of attempted witness tampering which took place on December 30, 2009 in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(b)(1). Morales-Sanchez and Bautista-Romero are the subject of the witness tampering charges against the Defendant Jaramillo- Mendez.

On February 10, 2010, the Magistrate Judge arraigned the Defendants on the superseding indictment, held a status hearing regarding the material witness depositions, and ordered a further status hearing for March 11, 2010. At the same hearing, new counsel was appointed for Defendant Guzman-Torres.

On February 25, 2010, Defendant Guzman-Torres moved to vacate the deposition order for the material witnesses.

On March 15, 2010, this Court held a motion hearing regarding discovery. This Court set a further status hearing ...


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