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United States v. Navarro-Gonzalez

United States District Court, W.D. New York

July 28, 2014



H. KENNETH SCHROEDER, Jr., Magistrate Judge.

This case was referred to the undersigned by the Hon. Richard J. Arcara, in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), for all pretrial matters and to hear and report on dispositive motions.


The defendant, Alejandro Navarro-Gonzalez ("the defendant"), is charged in a Superseding Indictment, along with a number of co-defendants, with having violated Title 21, U.S.C. § 846 (Count 24) (narcotics conspiracy) and Title 18, U.S.C. § 924(c)(1) (Count 25) (possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime). Dkt. #87. Presently pending is the defendant's omnibus discovery motion. Dkt. #213. The government filed opposition to the instant motion. Dkt. #243.


Bill of Particulars

In response to the defendant's request for a detailed bill of particulars, the government states that defendant's request for particularization should be denied because it is nothing more than an attempt by the defendant to preview the government's evidence. Indeed, the government further states, "[t]he specific allegations contained in the indictment, coupled with the voluminous discovery previously provided, more than adequately apprises each of the defendants of the nature of the charges pending against them, thereby enabling them to prepare for trial." Dkt. #243, p.3. Finally, the government argues that the broad categories of information for which the defendant is seeking particularization has already been provided through discovery, can be ascertained from reading the Superseding Indictment or which will be provided pursuant to the District Court's standard pretrial order requiring the government to submit a trial memorandum, witness list, expert summaries, exhibit lists and Jencks Act material. Id. at p.6.

The defendant's request is denied. It has become axiomatic that the function of a bill of particulars is to apprise a defendant of the essential facts of the crime for which he has been charged. United States v. Salazar, 485 F.2d 1272, 1277-78 (2d Cir. 1973); cert. denied, 415 U.S. 985 (1974); Wong Tai v. United States, 273 U.S. 77 (1927). The charges in Counts 24 and 25 of the Superseding Indictment, along with the discovery materials provided or to be provided by the government as aforesaid, clearly inform the defendant of the essential facts of the crime charged. As a result, the defendant is not entitled to, nor is he in need of, the "particulars" being sought for that purpose.

"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.) (mem.), cert. denied, ____ U.S. ____ , 110 S.Ct. 110, 107 L.Ed.2d 72 (1989); see also United States v. Leonelli, 428 F.Supp. 880, 882 (S.D.N.Y. 1977). "Whether to grant a bill of particulars rests within the sound discretion of the district court." United States v. Panza, 750 F.2d 1141, 1148 (2d Cir. 1984) (citing United States v. Burgin, 621 F.2d 1352, 1358-59 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 1015 , 101 S.Ct. 574, 66 L.Ed.2d 474 (1980)); see also Bortnovsky, 820 F.2d at 574. "Acquisition of evidentiary detail is not the function of the bill of particulars." Hemphill v. United States, 392 F.2d 45, 49 (8th Cir.), cert. denied, 393 U.S. 877 , 89 S.Ct. 176, 21 L.Ed.2d 149 (1968).

United States v. Torres, 901 F.2d 205, 234 (2d Cir. 1990); see also United States v. Chen, 378 F.3d 151, 163 (2d Cir. 2004); United States v. Porter, 2007 WL 4103679 (2d Cir. 2007).

Rule 12(b)(4) Notice

By his motion, the defendant requests immediate disclosure by the government of a notice setting forth any evidence which the defendant may be entitled to discover under Rule 16 which the government intends to use at trial. Dkt. #213, p.7. In its response, the government specifies that,

[s]ince the date of the Indictment, the United States has complied, and intends to continue to comply, with the requirements of Rule 16. To that end, the United States has provided comprehensive voluntary discovery, including surveillance reports, search warrant photos, search warrants, laboratory reports, FBI 302s relating to surveillance and arrest of the defendant and his co-defendants, transcripts, photographs of narcotics purchases, statements of the co-defendants, redacted statements of some government witnesses, redacted photo array identifications, numerous crime scene photos, crime scene reports, firearm reports, NIBIN ballistic reports, MYSPACE photos, audio and transcripts of jail recordings of co-defendants. Additionally, all physical evidence recovered in connection with this investigation is, and has been, available for inspection by the defendant's attorney.

Dkt. #243, pp.11-12. Moreover, the government further states, "[t]he government herein notifies the defendant that it intends to introduce all of this evidence at trial pursuant to Rule 12(b)(4)." Id. at p.12. Based on the representations made by ...

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