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United States v. Scantlebury

United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

April 16, 2019

United States of America, Appellee
v.
John Wayne Scantlebury, also known as Frederick Davis, also known as John Wayne Trotman, Appellant

          Argued February 7, 2019

          Appeals from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (No. 1:04-cr-00285-3), (No. 1:04-cr-00285-4)

          Lawrence J. Joseph argued the cause and filed the briefs for appellants.

          Vijay Shanker, Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, argued the cause and filed the brief for appellee.

          Before: Pillard and Katsas, Circuit Judges, and Edwards, Senior Circuit Judge.

          OPINION

          EDWARDS, SENIOR CIRCUIT JUDGE:

         In 2004, Appellants, John Wayne Scantlebury ("Scantlebury") and Sean Gaskin ("Gaskin"), who are residents of Barbados, along with another Barbadian resident - Frederick Christopher Hawkesworth ("Hawkesworth") - and two Guyanese residents, were indicted by a grand jury in Washington, D.C., for conspiracy to traffic cocaine. Scantlebury, Gaskin, and Hawkesworth (who is now deceased) all challenged extradition to the United States. The disputes over extradition lasted for over nine years. Finally, in December 2013, the U.S. Government moved to dismiss the charges against Scantlebury, Gaskin, and Hawkesworth without prejudice, citing "the age of the case, government resources, and other factual and legal issues which indicate the case is no longer viable." Joint Appendix ("J.A.") 41. The District Court granted the Government's motion to dismiss on January 9, 2014.

         Appellants argue that prosecutors in the United States knew for years, well before they moved to dismiss the charges, that the cases had "cratered" and that there was no probable cause to support the indictments. Appellants therefore assert that the District Court should have dismissed the indictments with prejudice. On appeal, Appellants seek a remand to the District Court with instructions to dismiss the charges with prejudice. The Government in turn contends that this court has no basis upon which to entertain this appeal. We agree with the Government.

         First, we are bound by the Supreme Court's decision in Parr v. United States, 351 U.S. 513 (1956). In Parr, the Court held that, without more, a criminal defendant whose indictment is dismissed without prejudice is not aggrieved and, therefore, has no standing to appeal. Id. at 516-17. Second, even assuming, arguendo, that the threat of subsequent prosecution might be sufficient in some cases to support an appeal of a dismissal without prejudice, the statute of limitations has run on the charges against Appellants, so the question is moot. Third, Appellants assert ongoing reputational injuries allegedly caused by their arrest and indictment records. But they lack standing to pursue these claims because dismissing the indictment with prejudice would not redress the alleged reputational harms. Finally, we hold that the court lacks jurisdiction to consider Appellants' request for declaratory relief.

         I. Background

         The U.S. Government began investigating Hawkesworth for cocaine trafficking in 2000. The Government suspected that Raphel Douglas ("Douglas") and Terrence Sugrim ("Sugrim") were supplying cocaine from Guyana to Hawkesworth. And Appellants were suspected of assisting Hawkesworth in an international drug trafficking operation that distributed cocaine in Barbados and transported cocaine from Barbados and Guyana to the United States.

         As part of its investigation, the Government worked with an unnamed confidential informant. The informant allegedly spoke with Appellants and Hawkesworth on several occasions and made plans to help them transport cocaine to the United States.

         In 2004, a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., returned a two-count indictment against Scantlebury, Gaskin, Hawkesworth, Douglas, and Sugrim. The first count alleged that all five defendants had conspired to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. The second count alleged that Hawkesworth and Douglas distributed 500 grams or more of cocaine. With respect to Appellants specifically, the indictment alleged that they "obtained false identification cards and documents in order to travel to the United States to facilitate the importation of cocaine from Barbados, Guyana and elsewhere into the United States." J.A. 35. The indictment stated that Hawkesworth was the leader of the organization, which had allegedly shipped 184 kilograms of cocaine from Guyana to JFK Airport in New York City. The indictment also alleged that Scantlebury and Gaskin met with the informant to discuss whether contacts were in place for a test shipment of cocaine and that the informant provided Scantlebury and Gaskin with fake identification cards.

         Following indictment, the Government sought extradition of Scantlebury, Gaskin, and Hawkesworth from Barbados and Douglas and Sugrim from Guyana. Douglas was extradited, but Sugrim was never taken into custody. The three Barbadian defendants were arrested by Barbadian law enforcement officials, but they challenged extradition and remained in Barbados. All three were released on bail in late 2004 or early 2005. Then, for reasons that are not indicated in the record, their bail was revoked and they returned to jail in Barbados in 2011. Scantlebury, Gaskin, and Hawkesworth remained incarcerated in Barbados from 2011 until the indictments were dismissed on January 9, 2014.

         In support of its requests for extradition from Barbados, the U.S. Government submitted affidavits written by a Senior Trial Attorney in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice ("Trial Attorney"), a Drug Enforcement Administration ("DEA") special agent, and the confidential informant. The Trial Attorney's affidavit stated that the evidence against the defendants included the testimony of the confidential informant and of DEA agents, audio and video recordings of conversations, photographs, telephone records, passport records, airline records, and seized cocaine. The DEA special agent's affidavit stated that 184 kilograms of cocaine, packed in a shipment of frozen seafood, was seized at JFK Airport on September 20, 2003, and that, later that day, the confidential informant met with Sugrim and Hawkesworth, who said that they had lost a load of 180 kilograms of cocaine that had been shipped to JFK. The DEA affidavit also noted that the confidential informant "was told that nobody was arrested." J.A. 132. In addition, the DEA affidavit noted that the confidential informant had worked with the DEA for approximately five years and had proven to be "completely reliable." Id. at 129.

         In support of its request for extradition of Douglas, U.S. Government officials made several additional statements attesting to the reliability of the confidential informant. Id. at 160. Douglas was extradited from Trinidad to the United States in October 2005. It was later determined, however, that several of the Government's claims made in support of the confidential informant's reliability were not true. See id. at 225-31. In February 2007, the U.S. Government moved to dismiss without prejudice the District of Columbia indictment against Douglas. The motion was granted by the District Court.

         The Government subsequently filed a second indictment against Douglas, Hawkesworth, and Sugrim in the Eastern District of New York on narcotics and use of telephone charges. In the New York case, the Government acknowledged that there were inaccuracies in the materials that it had submitted supporting Douglas's extradition. Douglas ...


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