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United States v. Martinez

United States District Court, W.D. New York

May 6, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
JOSE MARTINEZ, ET AL., Defendants.

DECISION AND ORDER

WILLIAM M. SKRETNY, Chief District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Presently before this Court are Motions to Dismiss the indictment brought by Defendants Angel Luis Marcial and Jose Martinez, and joined by the other defendants, Felix J. Vasquez and Carlos A. Canales. (Docket Nos. 415 and 420.) Both motions seek dismissal of the indictment based on defects in the grand jury proceedings: Marcial alleges that the government misled the grand jury concerning his relationship with Martinez; Martinez alleges that the grand jury's return of the indictment was secured by prosecutorial misconduct. The government maintains that its presentation to the grand jury was free from error and that the grand jury properly returned the indictment.

For the following reasons, Defendants' motions are denied.[1]

II. BACKGROUND

Defendants are charged in a 6-count indictment.

In Count 1, Martinez alone is charged with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 500 grams or more of cocaine, and to manufacture, possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 50 grams or more of crack cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846.

In Counts 2-6, each Defendant is charged with federal crimes relating to the death of Quincy Turner.

Count 2 charges Defendants with conspiring to kill Turner to prevent him from communicating information to a federal law enforcement officer about the drug conspiracy involving Martinez charged in Count 1, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(k). Count 3 charges Defendants with killing Turner on May 30, 2008, to prevent him from communicating information to a federal law enforcement officer about the drug conspiracy involving Martinez charged in Count 1, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1512(a)(1)(C), 1512(a)(3)(A), and 2.

Count 4 charges Defendants with conspiring to kill Turner in retaliation for Turner providing information to law enforcement, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1513(f) and 1513(a)(2)(A). Count 5 charges Defendants with killing Turner on May 30, 2008, in retaliation for Turner providing information to law enforcement, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1513(a)(1)(B), 1513(a)(2)(A), and 2.

Count 6 charges Defendants with using, carrying, and discharging firearms in furtherance of the crimes charged in Counts 1-5, and causing the death of a person through use of a firearm by killing Turner with a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c)(1)(A)(iii), 924(j)(1), and 2.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Proceedings Before the Grand Jury

The grand jury is its own constitutional fixture, separate from all three branches of government. See United States v. Williams , 504 U.S. 36, 47, 112 S.Ct. 1735, 118 L.Ed.2d 352 (1992). It acts as a referee of sorts between the government and the people. Id. at 47. It has broad investigative power and can "investigate merely on suspicion that the law is being violated, or even because it wants assurance that it is not." United States v. R. Enters., Inc. , 498 U.S. 292, 297, 111 S.Ct. 722, 726, 112 L.Ed.2d 795 (1991). The grand jury can keep secret the targets of its investigation, can rely on evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, and can consider hearsay testimony. See United States v. Calandra , 414 U.S. 338, 346, 94 S.Ct. 613, 38 L.Ed.2d 561 (1974). The judiciary's ...


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