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United States v. Almeida-Olivas

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division

September 8, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JESUS F. ALMEIDA-OLIVAS, Defendant.

ORDER

SARAH W. HAYS, Magistrate Judge.

This matter is currently before the Court on defendant Jesus Almeida-Olivas' Motion to Sever (doc #685). For the reasons set forth below, this motion is denied.

I. INTRODUCTION

On March 13, 2012, the Grand Jury returned a twenty-seven count indictment against defendants Porfirio Almeida-Perez, Sergio Almeida-Alvarez, Guillermo Ortiz-Iribe, Jesus Monjardin-Araujo, Eric S. Medina-Medina, Guadalupe Lara-Armenta, Isidro Marrufo, Abel A. Martinez, Norberto A. Dangla-Sanchez, Kevin D. Blum, Guadalupe Perez-Perez, Ignacio Salcedo-Baez, Martin Tavizon-Nunez, Jesus F. Almeida-Olivas, Fredy Almeida-Velazquez, Arturo Aviles-Perez, Cosme Ortiz-Miranda, Sergio Campos-Medina, Carlos Renteria, Ramon A. Angulo-Sandoval, Jose A. Castro-Rojo, Ernesto Sandoval, Jose Isidro Marrufo-Rutiaga, Enrique Lara, Esteban Acosta-Perez, Bruno Tavizon-Nunez, Isabel Gonzalez-Mendoza, Angel De La Rosa-Garcia, Guzman Perez-Hernandez, Gerardo Flores-Magallon and Jose Guadalupe Delgado-Delval. Defendant Jesus F. Almeida-Olivas is charged only in Count One of the indictment. Count One provides:

Between on or about January 1, 2007, and the date of this Indictment, said dates being approximate, in the Western District of Missouri and elsewhere, [all of the above-listed defendants, except Guzman Perez-Hernandez], [1] did knowingly and intentionally combine, conspire, confederate, and agree with each other and others both known and unknown to the Grand Jury to: (1) distribute a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, a Schedule II controlled substance, in an amount of five hundred grams or more; (2) distribute a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine, a Schedule II controlled substance, in an amount of five hundred grams or more; and (3) distribute a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of marijuana, a Schedule I controlled substance, in an amount of fifty (50) kilograms or more, contrary to the provisions of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A), (b)(1)(B) and (b)(1)(D).

All in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846. (Doc #20 at 7) The only additional counts in which those six defendants currently set for trial are charged are Counts Fifteen and Twenty-One. Count Fifteen charges that on September 21, 2011, defendant Jesus Monjardin-Araujo used a telephone to facilitate the distribution of methamphetamine. Count Twenty-One charges that on January 22, 2012, defendant Sergio Campos-Medina used a telephone to facilitate the distribution of methamphetamine.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Defendant Almeida-Olivas Is Properly Joined In This Action

Rule 8(b), Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, establishes the requirements for joinder of defendants. Defendants are permitted to be joined where "they are alleged to have participated in the same act or transaction, or in the same series of acts or transactions, constituting an offense or offenses." There is a preference in the federal system for joint trials of defendants who are indicted together. See Zafiro v. United States , 506 U.S. 534, 537 (1993). This is increasingly so when it is charged that defendants have engaged in a conspiracy. See United States v. Pou , 953 F.2d 363, 368 (8th Cir.), cert. denied, 504 U.S. 926 (1992).

The question of whether joinder is proper is to be determined from the face of the indictment. See United States v. Wadena , 152 F.3d 831, 848 (8th Cir. 1998), cert. denied, 526 U.S. 1050 (1999). See also United States v. Willis , 940 F.2d 1136, 1138 (8th Cir. 1991), cert. denied, 507 U.S. 971 (1993)("the indictment on its face revealed a proper basis for joinder"); United States v. Jones , 880 F.2d 55, 62 (8th Cir. 1989)("the superseding indictment reveals on its face a proper basis for joinder").

Given the factual allegations in the indictment, it is clear that the charge in Count One (that between January 1, 2007, and March 13, 2012, defendant Almeida-Olivas, along with his co-defendants Porfirio Almeida-Perez, Sergio Almeida-Alvarez, Guillermo Ortiz-Iribe, Jesus Monjardin-Araujo, Eric S. Medina-Medina, Guadalupe Lara-Armenta, Isidro Marrufo, Abel A. Martinez, Norberto A. Dangla-Sanchez, Kevin D. Blum, Guadalupe Perez-Perez, Ignacio Salcedo-Baez, Martin Tavizon-Nunez, Fredy Almeida-Velazquez, Arturo Aviles-Perez, Cosme Ortiz-Miranda, Sergio Campos-Medina, Carlos Renteria, Ramon A. Angulo-Sandoval, Jose A. Castro-Rojo, Ernesto Sandoval, Jose Isidro Marrufo-Rutiaga, Enrique Lara, Esteban Acosta-Perez, Bruno Tavizon-Nunez, Isabel Gonzalez-Mendoza, Angel De La Rosa-Garcia, Gerardo Flores-Magallon and Jose Guadalupe Delgado-Delval and others, conspired to distribute methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana) satisfies the requirement that defendants are alleged to have participated in the same act or in the same series of acts constituting an offense. There is no misjoinder in this case.

B. Defendant Almeida-Olivas Is Not Prejudiced By The Joinder

"When defendants are properly joined, there is a strong presumption for their joint trial, as it gives the jury the best perspective on all of the evidence and therefore increases the likelihood of a correct outcome.'" United States v. Casteel , 663 F.3d 1013, 1018 (8th Cir. 2011)(quoting United States v. Lewis , 557 F.3d 601, 609 (8th Cir. 2009)). However, Rule 14, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, permits severance where joinder would result in unfair prejudice to a defendant. The decision to sever lies in ...


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