Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Beavers

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division

November 16, 2016

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
ISAIAH DEONTE JOVAN BEAVERS

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Michael G. Gotsch, Sr., Magistrate Judge.

         Pending before the Court is the Defendant Isaiah Deonte Jovan Beavers' Motion for a Bill of Particulars. [DE 31.] The government filed a response on September 26, 2016. [DE 33.] The Defendant filed his reply on October 11, 2016. [DE 34.]

         The indictment charges Mr. Beavers in two counts. Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 844(e), Count 1 alleges that, on or about July 7, 2016, Mr. Beavers, through the use of an instrument of interstate commerce (the internet), willfully made a threat and maliciously conveyed false information knowing the same to be false, concerning an alleged attempt being made or to be made, to kill, injure and intimidate any individual, and to unlawfully damage and destroy a building, vehicle, and other real or personal property, by means of fire and explosive. Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 875(c), Count 2 alleges that, on or about July 9, 2016, Mr. Beavers knowingly transmitted in interstate and foreign commerce, an electronic communication (Facebook posting) to another, which contained a threat to injure the person of another, for the purpose of issuing a threat and with the knowledge that the communication would be viewed as a threat.

         On September 12, 2016, the Defendant filed his motion for a bill of particulars, in which he argues that the government has provided through the discovery process no less than five communications that could be interpreted as a threat. Consequently, the Defendant asserts that the indictment does not adequately apprise him of the “specific statement that the Defendant is alleged to have transmitted” [DE 39 at 1], and absent a bill of particulars, “the Defendant must necessarily guess as to what his is to defend against.” [Id.] The Defendant also contends that the lack of specificity in the indictment may lead to jury confusion, and to the possibility of being convicted for an uncharged act. Additionally, due to the multiplicity of statements contained in the discovery material that could qualify as the charged act, the Defendant contends that he could be subjected to double jeopardy because the indictment may charge multiple crimes in the same count and a jury verdict may not specify the basis for a conviction or acquittal.

         The motion is now ripe for decision. For the reasons stated below, the Defendant's Motion for a Bill of Particulars is GRANTED.

         DISCUSSION

         Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 7(f) states that the “court may direct the government to file a bill of particulars.” Under Rule 7(f), “the trial judge has discretion to grant or deny a request for a bill of particulars. United States v. Andrus, 775 F.2d 825, 843 (7th Cir. 1985).

         In analyzing whether to order the government to file a bill of particulars, “the key question is whether the defendant was sufficiently apprised of the charges against him in order to enable adequate trial preparation.” United States v. Blanchard, 542 F.3d 1133, 1140 (7th Cir. 2008) (citing United States v. Hernandez, 330 F.3d 964, 975 (7th Cir. 2003) (“[A] bill of particulars [is] unnecessary where the indictment sets forth the elements of the charged offenses and provides sufficient notice of the charges to enable the defendant to prepare his defense.” (alterations in original))). The indictment need not describe the government's evidence, plead evidentiary detail, or identify all of the facts supporting the allegations. Wong Tai v. United States, 273 U.S. 77, 82 (1927); United States v. Kendall, 665 F.2d 126, 135 (7th Cir. 1981). “Information relevant to the preparation of a defense includes the elements of each charged offense, the time and place of the accused's allegedly criminal conduct, and a citation to the statute or statutes violated.” Blanchard, 542 F.3d at 1140 (citing United States v. Fassnacht, 332 F.3d 440, 446 (7th Cir. 2003)).

         Absent an abuse of discretion, the trial court's decision will not be disturbed on appeal. Wong Tai, 273 U.S. at 82. The trial court abuses its discretion in denying a bill of particulars where “deprivation of the information sought leads to the defendant's inability to adequately prepare his case, to avoid surprise at trial, or avoid the later risk of double jeopardy.” United States v. Roya, 574 F.2d 386, 389 (7th Cir. 1978) (quoting United States v. Addonizio, 451 U.S. 49, 64 (3rd Cir. 1971)).

         In this case, the indictment itself is relatively straight forward - the Defendant used the internet to convey threatening and false information concerning an attempt to kill, injure and intimidate by means of fire and explosive and the Defendant knowingly transmitted a message via Facebook which contained a threat. However, other than identifying the date, the indictment does not specify the time, place, manner, or substance of the Defendant's threat or false statement that constitutes a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 844(e) or the Defendant's electronic communication that constitutes a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 875(c).

         Normally, even if an indictment is lacking in sufficient detail, a bill of particulars is not necessary “if the information the defendant seeks is readily available through alternate means such as discovery.” United States v. Vaughn, 722 F.3d 918, 927 (7th Cir. 2013) (citing Blanchard, 542 F.3d at 1140). Here, the government represents that it provided a “breadth of information” to the Defendant, including the indictment, the complaint, the affidavit in support of the complaint, the cross-examination of the government's case agent at the preliminary hearing, the discovery material, and the explanation contained in the government's response to the motion for bill of particulars. [DE 33 at 4.] The Defendant acknowledges as much in his Motion and his Reply, but that does not end our inquiry. Rather, the amount of information produced by the government has complicated the Defense's ability to match the conduct charged in the indictment to the information contained in the Government's discovery. As the Defendant notes in its Reply:

[In its Response, ] [t]he government has identified two Facebook statements (one of which is actually a graphic) which the government contends constitute threats. The first statement arguably constitutes a threat to injure person or property by fire (the gravamen of Count 1). The second “statement” arguably constitutes a threat to injure the person of another (the foundation of Count 2)…It would appear from the government's response that these two statements form the basis of the government's theory of the prosecution of this indictment.

[DE 34 at 1.]

         If, in fact, those statements are the basis of the government's prosecution in this matter, it should be a simple matter to indicate as much in a bill of particulars. However, as originally plead in the indictment, and based on the wide breadth of discovery, it is impossible for the Defense (and, frankly, the Court) to determine which statement or statements by the Defendant is covered by Count 1 and which statement or statements by the Defendant is covered by Count 2. While each count of the indictment contains “the elements of each charged offense…and a citation to ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.