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United States v. Robertson

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

October 24, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
DASHAWN ROBERTSON, Defendant.

          Charles E. Knoblauch Paul Mysliwiec Attorney for

          Mr. Robertson Assistant United States Attorney

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          MARTHA VÁZQUEZ UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Defendant Dashawn Robertson's Motion for Bill of Particulars. Doc. 40. The government filed a timely Response in opposition. Doc. 44. Having considered the Motion, the relevant law, and being otherwise fully informed, the Court finds that the Motion is well-taken and accordingly will be GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         Mr. Robertson moves the Court for a bill of particulars to provide additional information about the allegations contained in Count 3 of the indictment in this case. Doc. 40 at 1. Count 3 charges him with Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Doc. 2 at 1. It alleges:

         On or about September 12, 2017, in Bernalillo County, in the District of New Mexico, the defendant, DASHAWN ROBERTSON, having been convicted of at least one of the following felony crimes punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding on year:

(1) possession of a controlled substance (two counts),
(2) trafficking of a controlled substance (possession with intent to distribute), and (3) trafficking of a controlled substance (by manufacture), knowingly possessed, in and affecting commerce, a firearm and ammunition.

Id. at 3.

         Mr. Robertson requests a bill of particulars to provide additional details about: (1) how the allegations in Count 3 “relate to this jurisdiction;” (2) the specific firearm and ammunition alleged in the indictment; and (3) the evidence proposed by the government to demonstrate Mr. Robertson's knowledge of his status. Doc. 40 at 1-2. In support, he cites to caselaw establishing the need for a defendant to be adequately apprised of the charges against him so he can investigate the relevant facts and prepare a defense; the need for an indictment to be “sufficiently specific to satisfy the Fifth Amendment guarantee against double jeopardy;” and the fact that Rule 7(f) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure was amended to eliminate the requirement that a defendant make a showing of cause as a prerequisite to the granting of a bill of particulars. Doc. 40 at 2-3.

         The government makes two primary arguments in response. It first argues that the Court should deny Mr. Robertson's motion under Rule 7(f) because he submitted his request almost two years after the indictment was filed in this case. Doc. 44 at 1-2. It additionally argues that Mr. Robertson's motion is meritless because the indictment is facially sufficient and he has been apprised of “everything to which he is entitled” to learn through discovery and a Form 13 Presentence Investigation Report. Id. at 2-6.

         As to the indictment, the government argues that it “provides enough information for [Mr. Robertson] to avoid surprise and to bar the risk of double jeopardy” because it generally tracks the language of the respective statutes and includes the dates of the illegal activity, the place where the crime occurred, and the allegation of the murder Mr. Robertson attempted, as well as his alleged motive for that murder. Id. at 4.

         As to discovery, the government argues that the discovery Mr. Robertson has received in this case obviates his need for a bill of particulars. Id. at 5. It represents that it has provided the defendants with “all relevant and material evidence it possesses, ” including police reports, audio recordings, transcripts of audio recordings, and photographs. Id. On Mr. Robertson's request for information about the basis for jurisdiction, the government responds that he knows the charged conduct took place within the District of New Mexico from his alleged participation in the offenses and from discovery. Id. at 2. On Mr. Robertson's request for information about his alleged knowledge of his status as a felon, the government responds that he has three prior felony convictions and that these convictions were listed in the Form 13 Presentence ...


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