United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
P. Rodovich United States Magistrate Judge.
matter is before the court on the Motion for Severance [DE
1127] filed by the defendant, Jeremiah Shane Farmer, pro
se on November 1, 2017. For the following reasons, the
motion is DENIED.
defendant, Jeremiah Shane Farmer, has been charged in the
Third Superseding Indictment and the Fourth Superseding
Indictment. The grand jury returned a fourth superseding
indictment in this matter on November 15, 2017. Farmer
currently is charged with conspiracy to participate in
racketeering activity in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
1962(d) and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute
and to distribute cocaine, marijuana, and alprazolam in
violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846.
has requested severance from the other co-defendants, basing
his request on misjoinder, prejudicial joinder due to
antagonistic defenses, and a disproportionality of the
Government's evidence under Federal Rules of Criminal
Procedure 8(b) and 14.
Rules of Criminal Procedure 8(b) states that
“[t]he indictment or information may charge two or more
defendants if 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. The
defendants may be charged in one or more counts together or
separately. Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure
8(b). Moreover, all defendants need not be charged
in each count. Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure
has claimed that the evidence will show that he “should
have never been indicted on these federal charges count 1
racketeering or count 2 drug conspiracy.” However, the
test under Rule 8(b) is “what the indictment charges,
not what the evidence shows.” United States v.
Marzano, 160 F.3d 399, 401 (7th Cir. 1998). The simplest
case for joinder is where the defendants are charged with
having conspired with each other, therefore participated in
the same act or transaction. United States v. Diaz,
876 F.2d 1344, 1355-56 (7th Cir. 1989). Since the indictment
sufficiently establishes participation in the same
“series of acts or transactions, ” joinder is
proper pursuant to Rule 8(b). Farmer's allegations that
he has not had any contact with his co-defendants during his
time in prison has no bearing on his claim of misjoinder
under Rule 8(b).
Rule of Criminal Procedure 14(a) may allow for
severance if it would prejudice either a defendant or the
Government. However, “the Seventh Circuit recognizes a
strong interest in conducting joint trials for persons who
have been jointly indicted.” United States v.
Zafiro, 945 F.2d 881, 885 (7th Cir. 1991), cert.
granted, 503 U.S. 935, 112 S.Ct. 1472, 117 L.Ed.2d 617
(1992). Further, "there is a presumption that
participants in a conspiracy or other criminal schemes should
be tried together, not only to economize on judicial and
prosecutorial resources but also to give the jury a fuller
picture of the scheme." United States v.
Cardena, 842 F.3d 959, 981 (7th Cir. 2016) (quoting
United States v. Phillips, 239 F.3d 829, 838 (7th
Cir. 2001) (internal quotation marks omitted)). Farmer has
not shown that there is a serious risk that a joint trial
would either compromise a specific trial right of one of the
defendants, or prevent the jury from making a reliable
judgment about guilt or innocence. See Zafiro v. United
States, 113 S.Ct. 933, 938, 506 U.S. 534, 539 (U.S.
has argued that he should be severed based on antagonistic
defenses and the disproportionality of the Government's
evidence against him. However, “mutual antagonism,
finger-pointing, and other manifestations or
characterizations of the effort of one defendant to shift the
blame from himself to a codefendant neither control nor
illuminate the question of severance.” United
States v. Zafiro, 945 F.2d 881, 886 (7th Cir. 1991).
Further, a simple disparity in the evidence will not suffice
to support a motion for severance. United States v.
Caliendo, 910 F.2d 429, 438 (7th Cir. 1990) (internal
contends that severance is appropriate under Bruton v.
United States, 391 U.S. 123 (1968). He has argued that
denying his motion for severance will violate the
Confrontation Clause. However, the Government acknowledges
its duty under Bruton and the Sixth Amendment, ...