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United States v. Romain

United States District Court, S.D. New York

April 11, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
AUSTIN ROMAIN, Defendant.

Russell Capone, Esq., PREET BHARARA, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York New York, New York, Attorneys for the Government.

Ryan G. Branch, Esq., RYAN G. BLANCH, New York, NY, Attorney for Defendant AUSTIN ROMAIN.

OPINION

ROBERT W. SWEET, District Judge.

Defendant Austin Romain ("Defendant" or "Romain") has made nine motions in limine for pre-trial relief in advance of trial, currently scheduled for November 3, 2013.

For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's motion is denied in its entirety.

Procedural History & Facts

The underlying criminal Complaint, filed June 14, 2013, arises out of Romain's actions while serving as a Corrections Officer at Riker's Island, in which capacity he allegedly smuggled marijuana into the jail for inmates to redistribute. The Defendant purportedly would either provide his own marijuana or obtain marijuana from wives or girlfriends of the inmates he was supplying, who would then compensate the Defendant by either paying him in cash or wire transferring money to the Defendant's alias, "Steve Smith." (Compl. ¶ 12.)

According to the Complaint, a confidential source ("CS-1") explained how he used the Defendant to smuggle large quantities of marijuana into Riker's Island for redistribution. (Compl. ¶¶ 13-16.) Romain allegedly obtained the marijuana on his own, and the CS-1's girlfriend (the "Girlfriend") paid him. Between March 2012 and March 2013, the Girlfriend sent more than 20 Western Union wires to "Steve Smith, " typically between $200 and $500. (Compl. ¶ 16(b).) Western Union surveillance footage purportedly demonstrates that the Defendant is "Steve Smith."

Defendant was arrested and charged on June 14, 2013. On September 18, 2013, an Indictment was returned by a grand jury in this district, charging the Defendant in two counts: Count One of the Indictment charges the Defendant with conspiring to redistribute and possess with intent to distribute less than 50 kilograms of marijuana in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846. Count Two of the Indictment charges the Defendant with distributing and possessing with intent to distribute less than 50 kilograms of marijuana, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(D).

On February 26, 2014, the Defendant filed the nine motions at issue. These motions were heard and marked fully submitted on April 9, 2014.

The disposition of these motions follows.

The Defendant's Request for a Bill of Particulars is Denied

Defendant seeks a bill of particulars pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 7(f) both as to (1) the timeframe of the alleged offense and (2) to inform the Defendant of the scope of the conspiracy, the individuals involved in the conspiracy, and when each co-conspirator became involved in the alleged conspiracy.

Rule 7(f) allows a defendant to seek a bill of particulars in order to "identify with sufficient clarity the nature of the charges pending against him." Unite States v. Bortnovsky, 820 F.2d 572, 574 (2d Cir. 1987). "A bill of particulars should be required only where the charges of the indictment are so general that they do not advise the defendant of the specific acts of which he is accused." United States v. Feola, 651 F.Supp. 1068, 1132 (S.D.N.Y. 1987), aff'd, 875 F.2d 857 (2d Cir. 1989). In conspiracy cases, the Government is not required to indicate how or when the ...


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