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United States v. Alvarez

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Francisco Division

January 16, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
EDUARDO ALVAREZ, and others, Defendants.

ORDER RE: DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR COMPLIANCE WITH FEDERAL RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 12(b)(4)(B) AND 16; AND DEFENDANTS' MOTION RE: SCOPE OF REDACTIONS AND TIMING AND MODE OF DISCOVERY Dkt. Nos. 139, 145, 149, 150, 152, 153, 160, 161, and 200

NATHANAEL M. COUSINS, Magistrate Judge.

INTRODUCTION

This Order is intended to provide clarity to the parties on disputed discovery issues; to complement the case management plan set by District Court Judge Edward M. Chen; and to assure that each accused has the right to due process, effective assistance of counsel, and a fair trial. Discovery has been referred to the undersigned magistrate judge. Dkt. No. 104.

In the big picture, the Superseding Indictment charges seventeen defendants, in nineteen counts, with a racketeering conspiracy. Dkt. No. 241. The alleged racketeering enterprise is the "19th Street Sureños, including its leadership, members, and associates, such as the members of the 16th Street Sureños..." Id. ¶ 13. The alleged conspiracy began "since at least the early 1990s" and continues to present. Id. ¶ 15. All seventeen defendants are alleged to be members of the racketeering conspiracy. All defendants have entered not guilty pleas and are presumed innocent.

Three defendants, Miguel Ortiz, Antonio Castillo, and Marvin Cortez, were added to the case by the Superseding Indictment on November 6, 2014. Dkt. No. 241. Those defendants were not in the case when the discovery issues raised in this Order were first raised and when the Court addressed them at hearings on August 27 and October 21, 2014. Dkt. No. 235 (10/21/2014 transcript).

The parties on December 17, 2014, presented a thorough Case Management Statement that summarizes the status of the case. Dkt. No. 282. After the Case Management Conference on December 19, Judge Chen issued a scheduling order that sets, among other deadlines, briefs on any appeal of the undersigned Magistrate Judge's discovery orders (1/30/2015); hearing on trial grouping (2/27/2015); and motions to suppress (5/22/2015). Dkt. No. 298.

The deadline for the government to produce discovery required by Rule 16 was December 19, 2014. The parties contemplate that the first trial in this case will be October 19, 2015, but they have not yet set the trial groupings or the order in which the defendants will be tried. Trial grouping is one of the case management topics that will be presented to the District Court at the next appearance.

With that background, the Court turns to the discovery issues in dispute.

DISCOVERY ORDER

I. Rule 12(b)(4)(B) Disclosures

The defendants' earliest motion seeks an order for the government to comply with discovery required under Rule 12(b)(4)(B) and Rule 16. Dkt. No. 139; joined by co-defendants in Dkt. Nos. 145, 149, 150, 152, 153, 160, and 161; opposed in Dkt. No. 156; reply in Dkt. No. 158. Rule 12(b)(4)(B) provides that a defendant may at arraignment "or as soon afterward as practicable" request notice of the government's intent to use at trial any evidence that the defendant may be entitled to discover under Rule 16. The purpose of this Rule is to provide defendants an opportunity to move to suppress evidence under Rule 12(b)(3)(C).

Here, the government does not oppose the motion, stating that it is "willing to provide the notice contemplated in defendants' motion." Dkt. No. 156. Yet the government feels the motion is premature, given the need to complete other discovery before focus can be made on evidence that will be the subject of a motion to suppress. Id.

Given that the Court has set a May 22, 2015, deadline for motions to suppress, any notice under Rule 12(b)(4)(B) must be reasonably before that date. Accordingly, the Court GRANTS the motion for disclosure under Rule 12(b)(4)(B) and orders the government to ...


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