United States District Court, C.D. California, Southern Division
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT’S MOTIONS
J. CARNEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
United States has charged Defendant Ronnie Joseph Johnson
with one count of armed bank robbery, in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 2113, and one count of using and carrying a
firearm during a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 924(c). (See Dkt. 1
[“Indictment”].) The charges arise from the
October 15, 2008 robbery of a Citibank branch in Orange,
California (the “Citibank robbery”).
the Court are seven motions submitted by Defendant. They are:
1. A motion in limine to exclude evidence of other bank
robberies. (Dkt. 123.)
2. A motion in limine to exclude expert testimony, phone
calls, and certain identifications. (Dkt. 124.)
3. A motion to dismiss the case for pre-indictment delay.
4. A motion to dismiss the case for vindictive prosecution.
5. A motion in limine to exclude the government’s
cellular telephone expert. (Dkt. 148.)
6. A motion to compel disclosure of the government’s
witness list, exhibit list, and transcripts of certain
recordings the government plans to introduce into evidence.
7. A motion to preclude the introduction of phone calls
recorded while the Defendant was in custody. (Dkt. 150.)
Court has reviewed the motions, the government’s
oppositions to the motions, and Defendant’s replies to
some of the motions. For the following reasons, all seven
motions are DENIED.
Motion in Limine to Exclude Evidence of Other Bank
first motion indicates that he believes that the government
intends to introduce evidence of six other bank robberies to
which Defendant has an alleged connection. (Dkt. 123 at 3
(identifying robberies).) He argues that evidence of those
robberies should be excluded under either Rule 403 or Rule
404(b) of the Federal Rules of Evidence. In opposition, the
government clarifies that it intends to introduce only
evidence from two prior bank robberies, both of
which occurred in the nine months preceding the Citibank
robbery. Evidence of those robberies should be admitted, the
government says, because several characteristics of those
robberies match the Citibank robbery, and the previous
robberies are therefore probative of Defendant’s
presence at the Citibank robbery.
Rule 404(b), evidence of a prior “crime, wrong or other
act is not admissible to prove a person’s character in
order to show that on a particular occasion the person acted
in accordance with the character.” Fed.R.Evid. 404(b).
The evidence may be admissible, however, for other
purposes, including “motive, opportunity, intent,
preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, absence of mistake,
or lack of accident.” Id. Chiefly at issue
here is the exception for identity, which “requires
that the characteristics of the other crime or act be
sufficiently distinctive to warrant an inference that the
person who committed the act also committed the offense at
issue.” United States v. Perkins, 937 F.2d
1397, 1400 (9th Cir. 1991). When a defendant is charged with
a robbery, and prior robberies by the same defendant share
“peculiar, unique or bizarre” characteristics
with the charged robbery, evidence of the prior robberies
does not violate Rule 404(b). U.S. v. Ezzell, 644
F.2d 1304, 1306 (9th Cir. 1981). By contrast, if the
robberies only share features that are “so common to
most bank robberies as to be entirely unhelpful, ” Rule
404(b) bars the admission of the evidence of the prior
robberies. Id.; see also United States v.
Luna, 21 F.3d 874, 881 (9th Cir. 1994) (evidence of a
prior robbery was inadmissible because all the incidents
shared were “generic features of a takeover
robbery” like “guns, masks, gloves, bags, ”
the use of “profanity, ” a “loud entry,
” and the “abuse of bank employees”).
the prior robberies from which the government seeks to
introduce evidence share sufficiently particular
commonalities with the Citibank robbery to justify that
evidence’s admission. The government describes eleven
commonalities between the two prior robberies and the
1. All three robberies were carried out in the morning before
10:00 a.m., the government says, due to Defendant’s
preference for robbing banks at a time of day with fewer
employees, open vaults, and less customer traffic.
2. All three robberies involved between three and five
individuals, including-the ...