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United States v. Wilson

November 22, 2006

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
RONELL WILSON, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Garaufis, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

The Government alleges that Ronell Wilson ("Wilson" or "Defendant") murdered undercover New York Police Department ("NYPD") Detectives Rodney Andrews ("Detective Andrews") and James Nemorin ("Detective Nemorin") on March 10, 2003. Based on these and other allegations, Wilson is charged with two counts of murder in aid of racketeering, two counts of robbery conspiracy, one count of attempted robbery, one count of carjacking, two counts of use of a firearm, and two counts of causing death through use of a firearm. (See Second Superseding Indictment, Docket Entry No. 179.) The Government is seeking the death penalty against Wilson. Trial will begin on November 27, 2006.

Before the court are the Government's motion for disclosure of evidence pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 16 and Wilson's motion to preclude the Government from introducing evidence of certain rap lyrics and letters at trial. For the reasons set forth below, the Government's motion is GRANTED and Wilson's motion is DENIED.

I. The Government's Rule 16 Motion

The Government moved the court to order Wilson to provide the following categories of information:

1. Any books, papers, documents, photographs, tapes, tangible objects, or copies or portions thereof, which are in Wilson's possession, custody, or control and which Wilson intends to introduce as evidence or otherwise rely on at trial;

2. Any results or reports of examinations and tests or experiments made in connection with this case, or copies thereof, which are in Wilson's possession, custody, or control and which Wilson intends to introduce as evidence or otherwise rely on at trial or that were prepared by a witness whom Wilson intends to call at trial; and

3. A written summary of testimony Wilson intends to use as evidence at trial under Fed. R. Ev. 702, 703, and 705 describing the opinions of the witnesses, the bases and reasons for those opinions, and the witnesses' qualifications.

(Govt. Ltr. to Judge Garaufis dated Nov. 20, 2006 at 3.) This motion is granted.*fn1

The Government's requests track the language of Fed. R. Crim. P. 16(b), which provides that a defendant must provide such material upon request if the Government has provided reciprocal material upon the defendant's request. Fed. R. Crim. P. 16(b)(1)(A)-(C).*fn2 The Government has represented -- and Wilson does not dispute -- that it has repeatedly requested such material and that Wilson has failed to provide it. (Govt. Ltr. to Judge Garaufis dated Nov. 20, 2006 at 3.) I therefore order Wilson to provide such material to the Government by November 24, 2006. Fed. R. Crim. P. 16(d)(1). Wilson will be prohibited from introducing at trial any material in the categories described above that is not provided by that date. Fed. R. Crim. P. 16(d)(2)(C).

II. Wilson's Motion to Preclude Evidence of Rap Lyrics and Letters

Wilson moved the court for an order precluding the Government from offering into evidence (1) handwritten rap lyrics found in Wilson's possession upon his arrest, (2) rap lyrics found on the computer of Omar Green, and (3) letters and rap lyrics seized from the home of Jamal Brown.*fn3 *fn4 (Notice of Motion dated Nov. 20, 2006.) The motion is denied.

Wilson argues that the material in each category is irrelevant and unduly prejudicial and that material in the second and third categories is hearsay. (Mem. Law dated Nov. 20, 2006 at 3-8.) I will consider each category in turn. Because the material Wilson seeks to ...


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