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United States v. Chavez

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

December 12, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
LORENZO CHAVEZ, SARA RUIZ, and JAMES MONTANO, JR., Defendants.

          KARI CONVERSE FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER ATTORNEY FOR MS. RUIZ.

          ELAINE RAMIREZ ASSISTANT UNITED STATES ATTORNEY UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          MARTHA VÁZQUEZ UNITED SPATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court are defendant Sara Ruiz's Motion to Compel Discovery [Doc. 47] and Motion to Sever Defendants [Doc. 48]. Subsequent to the filing of these motions, Ms. Ruiz's co-defendants, Lorenzo Chavez and James Montano, Jr., entered guilty pleas in this case. As a result, the Motion to Sever Defendants [Doc. 48] is moot.

         Ms. Ruiz, along with the co-defendants, was charged with Count 1: Conspiracy to Commit Hobbs Act Robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a); Count 2:Hobbs Act Robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1951(a) and aiding and abetting in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2; and Count 3: brandishing a firearm in furtherance of Count 1(conspiracy) and Count 2 (interference with interstate commerce in violation on 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) and aiding and abetting in violation of 18 U.S.C. §2.[1] Trial is set for January 22, 2018.

         The charges arise from the December 27, 2015, armed robbery of a cashier at the Route 66 Casino. Mr. Chavez is alleged to have committed the robbery and brandished a firearm, Mr. Montano is alleged to have accompanied him into the casino and acted as a lookout, and Ms. Ruiz is alleged to have remained outside as the getaway driver.

         Ms. Ruiz has received partial disclosure of evidence in this matter, which includes the following allegation made during the questioning of Ms. Ruiz:

FBI Agent: “We got done talking to [co-defendant] too. Both him and [other co-defendant] said that you were the one that made the decision to rob the casino.”

         Ms. Ruiz has requested the actual statements of the co-defendants, but her requests have been denied. In her Motion to Compel, she contends she is entitled to the statements because they may contain Brady, Giglio, Agurs and/or Bagley information.[2] The government contends that the defendant is improperly seeking early disclosure of Jencks material.

         Rule 16(a)(1)(E) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure states:

Documents and Objects. Upon a defendant's request, the government must permit the defendant to inspect and to copy or photograph books, papers, documents, data, photographs, tangible objects, buildings or places, or copies or portions of any of these items, if the item is within the government's possession, custody, or control and:
(i) the item is material to preparing the defense;
(ii) the government intends to use the item in its ...

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