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United States v. Williams

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

June 29, 2016

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
DEREK A. WILLIAMS, and JASON E. SPARKS, Defendants.

          Derek A. Williams, Defendant, represented by Ronna Holloman-Hughes, Federal Public Defender's Office & William M. Ermine, Federal Public Defender's Office.

          Ashli Adkins, Defendant, represented by Jeremy Sean Weis, Gaddy Weis, LLC.

          Jason M. Sparks, Defendant, represented by Justin Summary, Allan and Summary, L.C. & Angela Claire Hasty.

          Charidy Blankinship, Defendant, represented by Patrick A. McInerney, Dentons U.S. LLP.

          Daniel R Williams, Defendant, represented by Shazzie Naseem, Berkowitz, Oliver, Williams, Shaw & Eisenbrandt, LLP.

          USA, Plaintiff, represented by Catherine A. Connelly, United States Attorney's Office & James C. Bohling, Office of the United States Attorney.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          SARAH W. HAYS, Magistrate Judge.

         This matter is currently before the Court on defendant Sparks' Motion to Dismiss Indictment, or in the Alternative, Motion for Bill of Particulars (doc #61) in which defendant Sparks argues that the indictment fails to give adequate notice of the charges against him; and defendant Derek Williams' Motion to Dismiss (doc #108) in which defendant Williams argues that the drug analogue statue is unconstitutionally void for vagueness in violation of the Fifth Amendment. For the reasons set forth below, it is recommended that these motions be denied.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         On June 20, 2013, defendant Derek A. Williams and Jason E. Sparks, along with Ashli Adkins, Charidy Blankenship[1] and Daniel R. Williams, [2] were charged in a forty-three count Indictment. On February 4, 2016, the Grand Jury returned a forty-six count Superseding Indictment against defendants Derek A. Williams, Ashli Adkins, Jason E. Sparks and Daniel R. Williams. Defendant Derek Williams is charged in Counts One through Forty-Four. Defendant Sparks is charged in Counts One through Forty-Two. In Count One, all defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud. In Counts Two and Three, all defendants are charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substance analogues, specifically JWH-203, JWH-250, JWH-210, AM-694, AM-2201, JWH-122, UR-144, XLR-11, JWH-081 and JWH-019 (Count Two) and XLR-11 and UR-144 (Count Three). In Count Four, all defendants are charged with conspiracy to import controlled substance analogues, specifically JWH-210, AM-2201, JWH-122, JWH-081 and JWH-019. In Counts Five through Ten, all defendants are charged with distribution of controlled substance analogues, specifically JWH-250, JWH-210, AM-694 and AM-2201 (Count Five) and XLR-11 (Count Six through Ten). In Count Eleven, all defendants are charged with conspiracy to introduce, receive, deliver and sell misbranded drugs in interstate and foreign commerce. In Counts Twelve and Thirteen, all defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering. In Counts Fourteen through Forty-Two, defendants Derek A. Williams, Ashli Adkins and Jason E. Sparks are charged with conducting financial transactions in excess of $10, 000 with criminally derived proceeds. In Counts Forty-Three and Forty-Four, defendants Derek A. Williams, Ashli Adkins and Daniel R. Williams are charged with conducting financial transactions in excess of $10, 000 with criminally derived proceeds. Counts Forty-Five and Forty-Six charge only defendant Daniel R. Williams.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Standard of Review

         The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution provides that "[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right... to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation...." This Constitutional requirement is implemented by Rule 7(c)(1) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure which specifies that "[t]he indictment... must be a plain, concise, and definite written statement of the essential facts constituting the offense charged...." The Eighth Circuit has set forth the following standard of review regarding a motion to dismiss based upon the sufficiency of an indictment:

An indictment adequately states an offense if "it contains all of the essential elements of the offense charged, fairly informs the defendant of the charges against which he must defend, and alleges sufficient information to allow a defendant to plead a conviction or acquittal as a bar to a subsequent prosecution. An indictment will ordinarily be held sufficient unless it is so defective that it cannot be said, by any reasonable construction, to charge the offense for which the defendant was convicted."

United States v. Sewell, 513 F.3d 820, 821 (8th Cir. 2008)(quoting United States v. Hernandez, 299 F.3d 984, 992 (8th Cir. 2002)). The sufficiency of an indictment is determined from its face. There is no summary judgment procedure in criminal cases nor do the rules provide for a pretrial determination of the sufficiency of the evidence. See United States v. Nabors, 45 F.3d 238, 240 (8th Cir. 1995); United States v. Critzer, 951 F.2d 306, 307 (11th Cir. 1992). An indictment is normally ...


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