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United States v. Vianey-Ramirez

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

October 30, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
YANTSE VIANEY-RAMIREZ, Defendant.

          Justine Fox-Young, Attorney for Ms. Vianey-Ramirez

          Alexander M. M. Uballez Elaine Y. Ramirez Assistant United States Attorneys

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          MARTHA VÁZQUEZ UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Defendant Yantse Vianey-Ramirez's Motion to Compel Rule 16 and Brady Materials. Doc. 71. The government filed a Response in opposition [Doc. 72] and then an Amended Response without objection [Doc. 76]. Having considered the motion, the relevant law, and being otherwise fully informed, the Court finds that the motion is not well-taken and accordingly will be DENIED.

         BACKGROUND

         Ms. Vianey-Ramirez is charged in this case in two counts of a nine-count Superseding Indictment with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams and more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846; and distributing 500 grams and more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B) and 18 U.S.C. § 2. Doc. 84 at 2-3. The alleged conspiracy began no later than November 2016 and continued until around June 2017. Id. at 2. Ms. Vianey-Ramirez's alleged distribution occurred on or about December 22, 2016. Id. at 3.

         On February 4, 2019, Ms. Vianey-Ramirez filed the instant Motion to Compel Rule 16 and Brady Materials. Doc. 71. She asks the Court to compel the production of two categories of information:

1. The post-arrest statements of all defendants charged in this case and in United States v. Cabrales;[1] and
2. The identities of the confidential informants who have provided the government information regarding her and any and all reports documenting the receipt of that information.

Id.

         With regard to the post-arrest statements, Ms. Vianey-Ramirez argues that because the government decided to charge the six defendants in this case together in a single indictment, it should not deny her the Rule 16 evidence of the conspiracy that it has produced to her co-defendants. Id. at 5. She further argues that timely disclosure of her co-defendants' post-arrest statements would promote judicial economy by allowing her to review the statements and “make any necessary motions to suppress or to sever based upon Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123, 136-137 (1968).” Id.

         With regard to the identities of confidential informants, Ms. Vianey-Ramirez argues that in order to properly test the government's evidence, it is critical she know the identities of the confidential informants “who have provided information regarding the scope and duration of the conspiracy which the Government alleges [her] to have participated in.” Id. at 7. She points to the fact that the government has referred to “multiple potentially overlapping conspiracies” in this case as well as in Cabrales and argues that she needs to review the claims made by cooperators in order to “disentangle the facts and to defend against the Government's implied claim that [she] has engaged in one unbroken conspiracy dating back eight or more years.” Id. Ms. Vianey-Ramirez also points to the fact that the government referred to a particular confidential informant, CS-4, in its response to her Motion for Release on Conditions. Id. at 6. She argues that she is entitled to know CS-4's identity in order to explore the information CS-4 provided the government and its reliability, regardless of whether they have since absconded and will be unavailable as a witness at trial. Id.

         The government filed its Amended Response on March 5, 2019. Doc. 76. It first argues that the requested information is not “material” within the meaning of Rule 16 or Brady v. Marlyand, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) because it does not intend to call any confidential informants or any of the defendants in this case or Cabrales in its case-in-chief. Doc. 76 at 4. The government then specifically addresses the two categories of requested information.

         With regard to Ms. Vianey-Ramirez's request for the post-arrest statements of charged defendants, the government responds that because no such statements will be offered in its casein-chief, there is nothing Ms. Vianey-Ramirez needs to review for the purpose of suppression. Id. at 6. It further represents that should a defendant become a witness in its case-in-chief, it will provide Ms. Vianey-Ramirez with the relevant statement, and there would be no issues under Bruton because she ...


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