United States District Court, C.D. California
NARE LAWRENCE MIDDLETON REEMA EL-AMAMY Assistant U.S.
Present: The Honorable CHRISTINA A. SNYDER JUDGE
CRIMINAL MINUTES - GENERAL
GOVERNMENT'S MOTION TO QUASH SUBPOENA OF AUSA KIM (Filed
April26, 2017, Dkt. 79)
MOTION TO QUASH SUBPOENA OF AUSA PINKEL (Filed May 8, 2017,
INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
November 29, 2016, the Government filed a criminal complaint
against Cesar Flores and Manuel Moreno (collectively
“defendants”). Dkt. 1. On December 16, 2016, a
grand jury returned a three-count indictment against
defendants. Dkt. 12 (“the Indictment”). The
Indictment alleges that on or about October 11, 2016, Flores
and Moreno: (1) conspired to possess methamphetamine with
intent to distribute it, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §
846; (2) possessed or aided and abetted possession, with
intent to distribute, methamphetamine, in violation of 21
U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A)(viii); 18 U.S.C.
§ 2(a); and (3) possessed, or aided and abetted
possession of, a firearm in the furtherance of a drug
trafficking crime, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
924(c)(1)(A)(i); 18 U.S.C. § 2(a).
defendant has filed a motion to suppress evidence derived
from a purportedly unlawful search. See Dkts. 35,
38. In anticipation of a hearing on the motions to suppress,
the parties have filed a number of interrelated motions. Two
such motions are the Government's motions quash two
subpoenas for testimony by two Assistant United States
Attorneys (“AUSAs”). Dkts. 62, 107. On April 26,
2017, the Government filed a motion to quash the subpoena
relating to AUSA Ann Kim (“the Kim Subpoena”).
Dkt. 62. On May 1, 2017, Moreno lodged an opposition to the
motion to quash the Kim Subpona. Dkt. 90. On May 3, 2017,
Flores filed an opposition to the motion to quash the Kim
Subpoena. Dkt. 100. On May 4, 2017, the Government filed a
reply in support of its motion to quash the Kim Subpoena.
8, 2017, the Government filed a motion to quash the subpoena
of AUSA Pinkel, which relied primarily upon the same
arguments relating to the Kim Subpoena. Dkt. 107. Also, on
May 8, 2017, the Court heard oral argument from the parties
regarding the pending motions to quash.
carefully considered the parties' arguments, the Court
finds and concludes as follows.
The Stop of Defendants' Vehicle
October 11, 2016, Los Angeles Sheriff's Department
(“LASD”) Deputy Peterson stopped a Toyota 4
Runner on Interstate-5. Flores was driving the vehicle.
Moreno was a passenger. Peterson approached the vehicle,
spoke with the occupants, and ultimately asked both
defendants to exit the vehicle. Peterson claims to have
smelled marijuana in the vehicle. Defendants refused to
consent to a search of the vehicle. Peterson placed both
defendants in his patrol car while waiting for a
narcotics-detecting canine-unit to arrive. Thereafter, a dog
handled by LASD Detective Jeffrey Hoslet allegedly alerted to
the presence of narcotics in the vehicle.
LASD deputies searched the vehicle and found just over 4 kg
of methamphetamine in a backpack and a .40 caliber handgun in
the center console.
subpoenas at issue here seek testimony by AUSAs about
Peterson's character for truthfulness. In a prior case,
United States v. Rafael Gonzalez Arellano, Case No.
14-cr-00410-BRO (the “Arellano Case”),
the Government filed charges based upon a traffic stop by
Peterson. Kim was the primary AUSA assigned to handle the
prosecution of the Arellano Case. Peterson's
incident report from that traffic stop indicated that
Peterson obtained verbal consent from Arellano to search his
truck. Arellano filed a motion to suppress evidence derived
from a purportedly unlawful search. During preparation for
the hearing on Arellano's motion to suppress, Kim ensured
that Peterson signed a sworn declaration about the stop, Kim
interviewed Peterson, and she spoke with a second deputy who
responded to the scene of the traffic stop. The second
deputy, who was called to the scene in order to act as a
translator, opined that Arellano did not speak or understand
English. The Government voluntarily dismissed the charges
against Arellano before the hearing on Arellano's motion
Pinkel became aware of Peterson's incident report,
declaration, and interviews with Kim as well as
Peterson's role in other cases being pursued by the
United States Attorneys' Office. The Government elected
to dismiss charges in a second case in which Peterson was the
primary witness to a traffic stop, United States v.
Becerra-Alvarez, Case No. 15-cr-0877-MJ (the
“Becerra-Alvarez Case”). In a third
case, United States v. Israel Ayala & Yessic
Avila, Case No. 15-cr-00085-SVW (the
“Ayala Case”), the defendants in that
case filed a motion to suppress evidence derived from a
traffic stop conducted by Peterson. The Government made a
Henthorn disclosure relating to prior LASD