United States District Court, D. New Mexico
F. Moon Samore CJA ATTORNEY Attorney for Mr. Sena
Michael D. Murphy ASSISTANT UNITED STATES ATTORNEY United
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
VÁZQUEZ UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER is before the Court on Defendant Benedict Anthony
Sena's Motion and Memorandum to Compel Disclosure of
Evidence. Doc. 65. The government filed a Response [Doc. 70]
and Mr. Sena filed a Reply [Doc. 72]. Having considered the
Motion, relevant law, and being otherwise fully informed, the
Court finds that the Motion is well-taken and accordingly
will be GRANTED in part.
Sena is charged with four counts of Aggravated Sexual Abuse
of a Minor, in violation of 18 U.S.C. sections 1153, 2241(c),
and 2246(2)(C). Doc. 1. All four counts are alleged to have
taken place in Indian Country between January 1, 2016 and
February 15, 2016. On March 13, 2019, Mr. Sena filed the
instant Motion and Memorandum to Compel Disclosure of
Evidence. Doc. 65. In his Motion, he lists five categories of
1. Curriculum Vitae and interrogation training course history
of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Agents, Clendinin and
RoAnna Bennet, who conducted the April 25, 2016 interview and
portions of the June 6, 2016 interview.
2. Investigative notes taken of any interviews of Mr. Sena by
government agents or law enforcement officers that have not
previously been provided to the Defense.
3. Any family or children neglect or abuse reports on Renae
Willie and her children from 2013 to the present by Acoma
Social Services, Acoma Police Department, or an equivalent
4. Any New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department
(CYFD) reports on Renae Willie or her children from 2013 to
5. Any government (state, BIA, federal, APD, FBI, HIS)
agent's notes of interviews of persons who are or may be
witnesses at hearing or at trial.
Doc. 65 at 4. In arguing that notes taken of potential
government witness statements or law enforcement officers are
relevant and material, Mr. Sena states that the notes may
assist the parties reach a resolution by plea agreement and
may serve judicial economy, citing the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth,
and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution
and Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 688 (1984).
Id. at 4-5. He points to four cases within the Tenth
Circuit in which he asserts that early production of
investigative notes containing statements from government
witnesses and from the accused have been ordered.
Id. at 5. He also bases his argument for the
production of this evidence on Brady v. Maryland, 73
U.S. 83 (1963), Kyles v. Whitley, 514 U.S. 419
(1955), and Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150
(1972). Id. at 7.
April 1, 2019, the government filed a Response [Doc. 70] in
which it addresses each category of information sought by Mr.
Sena. As to the first category, the government disputes the
relevance of the Curriculum Vitae or training information for
any agent involved in conducting the interviews. Id.
at 1. The government states that instead, the determination
of whether Mr. Sena's statements to the agents were
voluntary is determined by considering: “(1) the
defendant's age, intelligence, and education; (2) the
length of the detention and interrogation; (3) the length and
nature of the questioning; (4) whether the defendant was
advised of his constitutional rights; and (5) whether the
defendant was subjected to or threatened with any physical
punishment.” Id. (citing United States v.
Carrizales-Toledo, 454 F.3d 1142, 1153 (10th Cir.
2006)). As to the second category, the government maintains
that it has already produced notes taken by FBI Special Agent
Jennifer Sullivan during her interview of Mr. Sena.
Id. at 2. It is not aware of other relevant notes
that this time, but confirms that if additional such notes
are discovered, they will be produced to the Court for in
camera inspection. Id. As to the third and
fourth categories, the government states that any neglect
reports, abuse reports, or reports to CYFD are not within the
possession or control of the government, and further argues
that any reports of incidents that occurred after the charged
acts are not relevant. Id. at 2-3. With respect to
the final category, the government states that if any agent
interview notes aside from those already disclosed are found
or obtained, they will be produced for an in camera
review. Id. at 3.
April 15, 2019, Mr. Sena filed a Reply. Doc. 72. He first
maintains that any trainings, Curriculum Vitae, or employment
history of the agents are relevant to the determination of
whether Mr. Sena's statements or his waiver of rights
were knowingly and voluntarily made. Id. at 1. He
believes this review of the totality of the circumstances
will show an “intellectual imbalance.”
Id. He further argues that it is reasonable for the
government to submit for in camera inspection all
“investigative notes” from interrogations of Mr.
Sena as well as of government witnesses because the
government “had a substantial and prejudicial headstart
on the Defense in witness interaction and developing
relationships.” Id. at 2. He also argues that
reports by Acoma Social Services, Acoma Police ...