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United States v. Farmer

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division

July 13, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JEREMIAH SHANE FARMER, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          PHILIP P. SIMON, JUDGE

         Before the Court are a slew of motions that were filed by Defendant Jeremiah Farmer during the short period of time in which he opted to represent himself in this matter. After several of his motions were denied by the Court, Farmer filed a notice of appeal as to some of those rulings. The Seventh Circuit dismissed his appeal on June 11, 2018, and his remaining motions are now ripe for my review. I will address each motion in turn.

         Farmer was indicted by a federal grand jury and charged with conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) and conspiracy with intent to distribute and to distribute cocaine, marijuana, and alprazolam in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. After having been appointed 3 different attorneys, on October 25, 2017, the Magistrate Judge granted Farmer's request to represent himself in this matter. Following his attorney's withdrawal, Farmer filed numerous motions seeking to dismiss the indictment against him. On January 26, 2018, after a hearing, the Magistrate Judge appointed yet another attorney for Farmer. He is now represented and is scheduled to proceed to trial later this year.

         Farmer's first motion, titled “Affidavit for Truth and Belief, ” raises several grounds which Farmer believes warrant dismissal of the indictment. [DE 1130.] From what I can glean from his motion, Farmer first appears to be alleging that there was a problem with the summoning of the grand jury. But Farmer simply recites “Criminal Procedure 18.3322 Chapter 216” and relays several requirements of a grand jury. It's not at all clear to me what he's saying happened with respect to his particular case. If he is alleging that the grand jury was not properly constituted, he has presented absolutely no evidence whatsoever to support this claim.

         Second, Farmer says there is no evidence to prove he engaged in racketeering. Whether that statement is true or not is for a jury to decide. Third, Farmer claims he has been denied his Rule 16(a)(1) material. But the government has repeatedly represented to the Court that it has complied with all of its discovery obligations. Those assurances are sufficient. See Strickler v. Greene, 527 U.S. 263, 283 n.23 (1999). Fourth, Farmer claims he has been denied access to the courts, thereby denying him due process and equal protection. I'm not sure what this means. By filing all of his own motions, he clearly has had access to the courts.

         Farmer also claims he has received ineffective assistance of counsel because his prior attorneys would not file certain motions that Farmer wished for them to file. However, Farmer was allowed to proceed pro se for as long as he wanted, until he requested another attorney. As I explained earlier, he has now been appointed four different attorneys. He is currently represented by counsel, and this has removed any possibility of prejudice resulting from his attorneys' prior representation.

         Lastly, in this motion, Farmer requests a hearing to challenge the truthfulness of factual statements made by “the affiant.” I'm not sure who the affiant is or what Farmer is specifically alleging here. Because he also claims that the “Grant Jury and Courts” violated the Fourth Amendment, it may be that Farmer is trying to request a Franks hearing. “[W]hen a defendant makes a substantial preliminary showing that the police procured a warrant to search his property with deliberate or reckless misrepresentations in the warrant affidavit, and where such statements were necessary to the finding of probable cause, the Fourth Amendment entitles the defendant to an evidentiary hearing to show the warrant was invalid.” United States v. McMurtey, 704 F.3d 502, 504 (7th Cir. 2013). Conclusory allegations do not entitle a defendant to a hearing. Id. at 509. Farmer here makes only conclusory allegations and does not even specify what allegedly misleading or false statement or omission was included in a warrant. That does not entitle him to a hearing.

         Next, Farmer's second motion concerns his desire to see the grand jury materials. [DE 1142.] Farmer also claims that the grand jury was not legally drawn because the jurors were not qualified. Grand jury proceedings are presumptively secret. However, the Court may authorize disclosure of a grand jury matter at the request of a defendant who shows that a ground may exist to dismiss the indictment because of a matter that occurred before the grand jury. Fed. R. Crim. P. 6(e)(3)(E)(ii). The burden is on the defendant to show that disclosure of the grand jury transcripts is appropriate. Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. v. United States, 360 U.S. 395, 400 (1959). A defendant must demonstrate a “compelling necessity” or a “particularized need” that is sufficient to overcome the important interest in securing grand jury secrecy. United States v. Lisinski, 728 F.2d 887, 893 (7th Cir. 1984). Unsubstantiated and speculative assertions of prosecutorial misconduct are not sufficient. See United States v. Ferreboeuf, 632 F.2d 832, 835 (9th Cir. 1980); see also United States v. Griggs, 2010 WL 4630841, at *6 (N.D. Ind. Nov. 3, 2010). That is all Farmer has presented here, and therefore his request is denied.

         Farmer's next motion is incoherent. He asks for the Court's help in investigating “a conspiracy theory within the government, judges, AUSA, public defenders in U.S. court.” [DE 1146.] It's not at all clear to me what this means. This Court does not investigate conspiracy theories. There are many other arguments raised in this motion, but I have rejected each and every one of them in my prior orders, so I will not rehash Farmer's arguments here.

         Farmer repeats his request for the Court's help in investigating this “conspiracy theory” by appointing a private investigator in his next motion. [DE 1147.] He alleges a host of constitutional violations, including violations of his First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Amendment rights. Again, I have addressed, and rejected, all of the specific arguments Farmer has raised in past motions concerning his alleged violations of his constitutional rights. Likewise, as I said above, there is no procedure for Farmer to request this Court to appoint a private investigator to look into Farmer's allegations that the judges, prosecutors, and defenders are in a conspiracy against him.

         The next motion filed by Farmer [DE 1150] actually raises four specific grounds on which he seeks relief. First, he argues the prosecutor has failed to turn over Brady material. I have already rejected this argument on the basis that the government has represented to this Court that it has complied with its Brady obligations.

         Second, Farmer says that the prosecutor has engaged in misconduct by employing improper investigative techniques. Specifically, Farmer challenges the composition of the grand jury and the jurors' qualifications. For the reasons stated above, this argument is meritless.

         Third, Farmer essentially argues that his prior counsel were ineffective and that this has prejudiced his plea bargaining. He also takes issue with his prior attorneys' failure to file motions that Farmer wanted them to file. I have explained many, many times before: Farmer was allowed to proceed in this matter pro se. During this time, Farmer filed motion after motion asking for various forms of relief. There is no evidence that his prior attorneys' failure to file his motions prejudiced him since he ultimately got to file them himself.

         Fourth, Farmer claims that the government has engaged in “manipulation of the charges, even if no bad faith.” Again, it's not clear to me exactly what Farmer is claiming. He says that the charges are frivolous ...


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