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U.S.A. v. Defendant(S)

United States District Court, C.D. California

May 22, 2017

U.S.A.
v.
Defendant(s)

          The Honorable CHRISTINA A. SNYDER

          CRIMINAL MINUTES - GENERAL

1) Cesar Alejandro Castillo Flores

Not

X

1) Pedro Castillo

Not

X

2) Manuel Alex Moreno

X

X

2) Yolanda Barrera

Not

X

         Proceedings: (IN CHAMBERS) - FLORES'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION (Filed May 18, 2017, Dkt. 128)

         I. INTRODUCTION

         On 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).

         Defendants were arrested after a traffic stop while traveling northbound on the Interstate-5. Defendants have each filed a motion to suppress evidence seized during the allegedly unlawful search of their vehicle. See Dkts. 35, 38. In anticipation of a suppression hearing, the defendants attempted to subpoena testimony by two Assistant United States Attorneys (“AUSAs”) regarding the arresting officer, Deputy James Peterson. The Government filed motions to quash both AUSA-subpoenas. Dkts. 62, 107. On May 8, 2017, the Court granted both motions to quash. Dkt. 115.

         On May 18, 2017, Flores filed the instant motion for reconsideration of the Court's May 8, 2017 order quashing the AUSA-subpoenas. Dkt. 128.

         Having carefully considered Flores's arguments, the Court finds and concludes as follows.

         II. BACKGROUND

         On October 11, 2016, defendants were arrested after a traffic stop conducted by Los Angeles County Sherriff's Deputy James Peterson.

         In the past, the Government has voluntarily dismissed cases wherein Peterson was the arresting officer and the principal evidence was derived from a traffic stop conducted by Peterson. In one such case, United States v. Rafael Gonzalez Arellano, Case No. 14-cr-00410-BRO (the “Arellano Case”), AUSA Ann Kim had multiple conversations with Peterson regarding a traffic stop he conducted. Kim became concerned that Peterson may have made inconsistent statements regarding whether Arellano spoke English and whether she could prove that Peterson obtained valid consent to search Arellano's vehicle. The United States Attorney's Office decided to voluntarily dismiss the charges against Arellano rather than litigate a motion to suppress the evidence derived from Peterson's search. Thereafter, AUSA Pinkel became aware of Peterson's statements in relation to the Arellano Case and the Government elected to dismiss charges in a separate case, United States v. Becerra-Alvarez, Case No. 15-cr-0877-MJ (the “Becerra-Alvarez Case”).

         The Court quashed the subpoenas of both AUSAs. Flores now requests that the Court reconsider its ruling.[1]

         III. LEGAL STANDARDS

         The Court retains authority to modify its interlocutory orders. Credit Suisse First Boston Corp. v. Grunwald, 400 F.3d 1119, 1124 (9th Cir. 2005); see also United States v. Martin, 226 F.3d 1042, 1049 (9th Cir. 2000) (district courts may reconsider their own orders in order to correct simple ...


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