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United States of America v. (2) Ruben Dario Castro Perez

March 29, 2011

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
(2) RUBEN DARIO CASTRO PEREZ , (5) CARLOS COSME, (6) MARIO ESCAMILLA, (10) JESUS QUINONES MARQUEZ, (12) EDGAR JESUS LOPEZ DE-ANDA DAHER, (14) ALICIA MARTINEZ, (15) JUAN CARLOS MAGANA HEREDIA (16) OSCAR DANIEL MONTOYA MORA, (18) OMAR MARTINEZ DAMIAN, (19) JONATHAN VALLE, (20) ARMANDO CASTILLO, (21) MIKAEL DANIEL BLASER, (22) ENRIQUE SALINAS, JR., (23) RAUL MORENO, (24) MIGUEL SORIA, (25) PERLA YADIRA FLORES, (26) LUZ MARIA BENAVIDEZ MARTINEZ, (27) BRIDGETTE REYNOSO, (28) JORGE HUMBERTO LORA, (29) CHRISTOPHER ADRIAN RUIZ, (30) RICHARD GILBERT FAVELA, (31) HUMBERTO MENDOZA-TORRES, (32) JUAN CARLOS RIQUE AGUIRRE, (33) TELLIE KRESCHMER, (34) HECTOR MONTES, (35) JOSE CONTRERAS, (36) HUSSAIN ALZUBAIDY, (37) OMAR MORA, (38) ULISES VALENZUELA, (39) BENJAMIN AVENDANO, (40) JENNIFER ESCAMILLA, (41) ARACELI VARELA, (42) ROCIO LOPEZ, (43) KEVIN LUIS,
DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER

The matters before the Court are motions addressed at the January 27, 2011 hearing.

BACKGROUND FACTS

On July 29, 2010, the federal grand jury returned a one-count indictment charging forty-three defendants with conspiring to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1962(d). The indictment alleges that the defendants and "others known and unknown to the grand jury, were members and associates of an organization known as the 'Fernando Sanchez Organization' ('FSO'), whose members engaged in, among other things, murder, conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, kidnaping, conspiracy to kidnap, attempted kidnaping robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, attempted robbery, importation of controlled substances into the United States from Mexico, conspiracy to import controlled substances into the United States from Mexico, distribution of controlled substances, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, money laundering and conspiracy to launder money." ECF No. 82 at 3-4.

On September 14, 2010, the Government produced approximately 99,117 pages of written discovery and 193 DVDs to the Defendants on a single searchable, external hard drive. The documents and DVDs included 1) conversations intercepted pursuant to court-authorized wiretaps, 2) pleadings submitted to obtain court orders authorizing electronic surveillance, 3) the line sheets of the wiretaps hyperlinked to the corresponding intercepted conversations, 4) a copy of each defendant's post-arrest statement, 5) copies of all items seized during the execution of search warrants, 6) court orders authorizing the tracking of various cellular phones, 7) photographs taken at the various search locations, 8) law enforcement investigative reports, and 9) video and audio tapes of consensual recorded conversations. ECF No. 533 at 2. On January 14, 2010, (sic) the Government produced pleadings submitted to obtain California Superior Court ordered authorizing electronic surveillance and additional law enforcement investigative report. Id.

All Defendants filed or joined in discovery motions requesting general discovery. On September 10, 2010 and November 17, 2010, the Court held status hearings for thirty-one defendants. On each of these dates, all Defendants appeared before the court in three groups in three consecutive hearings with counsel for each defendant present at the hearing. Each counsel had the opportunity to make any statement to the court. The hearings addressed issues of the case complexity of the case, the timing of discovery disclosures, and the scheduling of future hearing dates. ECF No. 292 and 421.

On November 19, 2010, the Court entered an order "that the Defendants shall raise any discovery issues by written motion filed no later than January 6, 2011. Each discovery motion shall specifically identify the discovery requested with specificity, and include the legal support for the discovery requested." ECF No. 425.

On January 27, 2011, the Court held a hearing on discovery with all defendants and all attorneys present. The Court reviewed with defense counsel and government counsel all items of discovery including items that the Government has provided or will provide in the near future and any items which the Government asserts are not discoverable. All Defendants were heard on all outstanding discovery and scheduling matters. ECF No. 552.

On February 4, 2011, the Court entered an order setting any wiretap motions for hearing on July 6, 2011; any substantive motions for hearing on September 21, 2011; any motions in limine for hearing on December 14, 2011; and the trial for all defendants on February 7, 2012. ECF No. 565.

RULING OF THE COURT

1. Proffer information

Defendant Edgar Lopez De Anda joined by other defendants move the Court for an order to the Government to disclose

(1) Initial discussions between the Assistant U.S. Attorney and cooperator's counsel regarding the information the cooperator's attorney believes the cooperator will give to the extent that information turned out to be inconsistent with information later given or testified to; (2) Initial and ongoing discussions between the Assistant U.S. Attorney and cooperator's counsel regarding the extent of benefits to be offered to the cooperator; (3) Actual proffer by cooperator as well as any statements by his/her counsel to the nature of the information the cooperator will provide to the extent inconsistent with other statements or testimony; and (4) Any subsequent discussions between the Assistant U.S. Attorney and cooperator's counsel regarding additional information the Government believes the cooperator should be able to provide (assuming an assessment has been reached that the initial proffer was either incomplete or misleading).

ECF No. 458 at 2. Defendants contend that any variance in the statement of a cooperating witness is subject to disclosure under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). Defendants contend that any changes in the cooperator's proffer which reflect an inconsistency in the cooperator's statement are the type of information the jury needs to hear to evaluate the credibility of the cooperator. Defendants assert that "the government must disgorge any known, favorable information or evidence, regardless of its determination of admissibility or likelihood to impact a fact finder." ECF No. 558 at 2.

The Government "recognizes its duty to provide the defendants with all impeachment material concerning prospective witnesses" including the witnesses prior criminal record; the terms of any agreements, promises, or other inducements made by the Government to the witnesses; any payments by the Government to witnesses; any material inconsistencies or untruthful statements made by the witness to the Government; and the fact that a witness has breached a plea agreement or failed a polygraph examination. ECF No. 533 at 17. The Government agrees that material inconsistent statements made in the course of a proffer will be disclosed to the defense as a proper subject for impeachment. The Government further concedes that an attorney proffer may form the basis for an inconsistent statement. The Government states that there have been no attorney proffers and no statements by cooperating witnesses at this stage in the proceedings.

In Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), the United States Supreme Court held that "the suppression by the prosecution of evidence favorable to an accused upon request violated due process where the evidence is material either to guilt or to punishment..." 373 U.S. at 87.

Evidence impeaching the testimony of a government witness falls within the Brady rule when the reliability of the witness may be determinative of guilt or innocence. See Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150, 154 (1972); United States v. Bagley, 473 U.S. 667, 676 (1985); and Strickler v. Greene, 527 U.S. 263, 280 (1999).

In this case, the Government has agreed that "any material inconsistencies or untruthful statements made by the witness to the Government" would be provided. ECF No. 533 at 17.

The Government has recognized that an attorney proffer can create an inconsistency with a later proffer statement that would require disclosure. There are no attorney proffers and no statements by cooperating witnesses at this stage on the proceedings. The Court concludes that any order compelling disclosure is premature at this stage in the proceedings. The motion for ...


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