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United States v. Fitzpatrick

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

April 23, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
PETER FITZPATRICK, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING IN PART AND GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTIONS

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Defendant's Motion to Compel Disclosure of the Identity of the Confidential Informant Referenced in Discovery Materials, filed January 17, 2018 (Doc. 29), and Motion for Bill of Particulars, filed January 17, 2018 (Doc. 30). Having considered the parties' written and oral arguments and applicable law, the Court finds that Defendant's motions are generally not well-taken, and therefore, are DENIED IN PART. The Motion for Bill of Particulars is GRANTED IN PART as specified below.

         BACKGROUND[1]

         On September 21, 2017, a grand jury indicted Defendant with three counts of Interstate Stalking pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2261A(2). The Interstate Stalking statute provides:

         Whoever--

(2) with the intent to kill, injure, harass, intimidate…uses the mail, any interactive computer service or electronic communication service or electronic communication system of interstate commerce, or any other facility of interstate or foreign commerce to engage in a course of conduct that--
(A) places that person in reasonable fear of the death of or serious bodily injury to a person described in clause (i), (ii), or (iii) of paragraph (1)(A); or
(B) causes, attempts to cause, or would be reasonably expected to cause substantial emotional distress to a person described in clause (i), (ii), or (iii) of paragraph (1)(A),
shall be punished as provided in section 2261(b) of this title.

18 U.S.C. § 2261A (emphasis added).

         The indictment alleges in Count 1:

         On or between February 1, 2016 and September 1, 2017, in the District of New Mexico, the defendant, PETER FITZPATRICK, with the intent to harass, and intimidate, used the mail, any interactive computer service and electronic communication service and electronic communication system of interstate commerce, and any other facility of interstate and foreign commerce, including a telephone, to engage in a course of conduct that placed J.O., a person known to the grand jury, in reasonable fear of death and seriously bodily injury, and caused, attempted to cause, and would reasonably be expected to cause substantial emotional distress to J.O.

         Counts 2 and 3 are similar as to victims T.B. and S.B..

         A. Previous Incidents.

         Defendant was employed at the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program (“MGWRP”), which was part of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”). On July 4, 2014, Defendant attended a party with his co-workers in Arizona. At the party, Defendant became angry and accused a co-worker of stealing his dog. Defendant allegedly yelled at the co-worker, causing the co-worker's own dog to bark at Defendant. Defendant pulled out a gun and pointed it at the co-worker's dog. After this incident, the MGWRP evacuated employees from the Alpine, Arizona office and moved them to Springerville, Arizona. Defendant was arrested by Arizona state law enforcement on July 7, 2014 and charged with disorderly conduct with a weapon. Defendant resigned on July 12, 2014 in lieu of termination.

         On January 2, 2015, an informant contacted a biologist with the MGWRP and reported his or her concerns about the defendant's mental health. The informant stated he or she did not think anyone was in immediate danger, but wanted to let them know that Defendant was angry with the USFWS. Although Defendant had not stated he was going to retaliate, the informant was concerned that the defendant may kill himself or take revenge and then kill himself. The informant stated he or she was a childhood friend of Defendant and believed Defendant might be “crazy”, but had not spoken with Defendant for six months.

         On January 6, 2015, the informant contacted special agent Roper. The informant stated that he had last spoken to Defendant six months prior. The informant stated that Defendant seemed afraid, angry, paranoid, and seemed to be having mental issues.

         A safety briefing was held for members of the MGWRP on January 13, 2015. Employees were informed they had received information that Defendant was mentally unstable and could pose a threat to USFWS and Arizona Game and Fish Department (“AZGFD”) personnel. Employees were told that Defendant had not made any direct threats, but he was experiencing paranoia, anger, and depression. The employees were told that it did not appear that Defendant was residing in Arizona or New Mexico.

         In February 2015, federal agents visited Defendant's parents' home and also spoke to Defendant on the phone. The informant talked to another agent on April 22, 2015, and reported that he or she had spoken to Defendant a few months ago, and Defendant seemed to be depressed, but that the informant may have overreacted in the initial assessment. The informant told SA Roper that Defendant never made any threats or remarks about violence to anyone, except to himself.

         B. Charg ...


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