Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Hawit

United States District Court, E.D. New York

July 14, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
ALFREDO HAWIT, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER DENYING MOTION TO VACATE DEFERRED DISCLOSURE ORDERS

          PAMELA K. CHEN, United States District Judge

         Defendant Juan Angel Napout moves to vacate four orders issued by the Court permitting the government to defer disclosure of four search warrants and supporting affidavits until three months before trial, or August 7, 2017[1]. (Def.'s Mot., Dkt. No. 596; Def.'s Mem. of Law, Dkt. No. 596-1.) The four orders are: (1) Dkt. No. 582, dated July 8, 2016; (2) Dkt. No. 580, dated July 18, 2016; (3) Dkt. No. 581, dated July 18, 2016; and (4) Dkt. No. 579, dated April 11, 2017. Napout alternatively asks the Court to “reconsider the set disclosure date” for the search warrants and affidavits. (Dkt. No. 596.) For the reasons discussed below, Napout's motion is denied in its entirety. However, Defendants will have the opportunity following the government's disclosure of the search warrants and affidavits on August 7, 2017, to move to suppress evidence obtained pursuant to those warrants.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Procedural History

         On June 22, 2016, the Honorable Robert M. Levy signed and sealed a search warrant to search Napout's two mobile telephones and his iPad (16-MISC-605). Based on an ex parte application by the government, the Honorable Raymond J. Dearie signed an order, dated July 8, 2016, authorizing the deferred disclosure of this search warrant and supporting affidavit until three months before trial. (Dkt. No. 582.)

         On July 11, 2016, the Judge Levy signed and sealed a warrant to search an Apple iCloud account associated with email account “janb107@hotmail.com” (16-MISC-639). On July 14, 2016, Judge Levy signed and sealed a warrant to search the “janb107@hotmail.com” email account itself (16-MISC-658). Based on an ex parte application by the government, dated July 18, 2016, Judge Dearie signed two orders of the same date authorizing the deferred disclosure of these two search warrants and supporting affidavits until three months before trial. (Dkt. Nos. 580 and 581.)[2]

         On March 24, 2017, Judge Levy signed and sealed a warrant to search three additional electronic devices used by Napout before his arrest (17-MISC-271). On March 28, 2017, the government moved, pursuant to Rule 16(d)(1) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, for leave to file under seal and ex parte an application for an order of deferred disclosure with respect to the March 24, 2017 search warrant and supporting affidavit. (Dkt. No. 561.) The Court granted that motion on April 11, 2017.

         On April 25, 2017, the Court granted the government's application for an order permitting deferred disclosure of the March 24, 2017 search warrant and affidavit until three months before trial. (Dkt. No. 579.)

         On June 1, 2017, Napout filed the instant motion seeking to vacate all four deferred disclosure orders or, in the alternative, reconsider the disclosure date as to the search warrants and affidavits. (Dkt. Nos. 596 and 596-1.)

         II. Compelling Governmental Interests Overcome Defendant's Right of Access to Search Warrants and Affidavits

         Assuming without deciding that Napout and the other defendants in this case have a qualified right of access to the search warrants and supporting affidavits (“search warrant applications”) at issue[3], the Court finds that there exist compelling governmental interests that justify the deferred disclosure of the four search warrant applications until three months before trial, and that this deferred disclosure is narrowly tailored to serve that interest. See United States v. Alcantara, 396 F.3d 189, 199 (2d Cir. 2005) (court may close proceedings or seal documents based on specific and on-record findings that closure or sealing “is essential to preserve higher values and is narrowly tailored to serve that interest”); United States v. Doe, 63 F.3d 121, 128 (2d Cir. 1995) (in deciding whether to close proceedings or seal documents, court must determine, inter alia, “if there is a substantial probability of prejudice to a compelling interest of the defendant, government, or third party” that closure or sealing would prevent). The Court's finding is based on the specific, detailed, and non-“speculative”[4] information and reasons provided by the government in their March 28, 2017 sealed ex parte submission (Dkt. 562). See Fed. R. Crim. P. 16(d)(1) (“At any time the court may, for good cause, deny, restrict, or defer discovery or inspection, or grant other appropriate relief. The Court may permit a party to show good cause by a written statement that the court will inspect ex parte.”); United States v. Amodeo, 44 F.3d 141, 147 (2d Cir. 1995) (recognizing as interests warranting closure and sealing government's need to protect integrity of ongoing investigations, including witness safety, and to prevent interference and obstruction); Doe, 63 F.3d at 127 (same); United States v. Coppa, 267 F.3d 132, 138-139 (2d Cir. 2001) (acknowledging delayed disclosure appropriate to protect witness safety and ongoing investigations); see also United States v. Madori, 419 F.3d 159, 171 (2d Cir. 2005) (finding district court's sealing of government's ex parte submission not erroneous where “disclosure of [co-defendant's] cooperation would have endangered his life”).

         The Court further finds, based on its review of the search warrants and affidavits, that releasing redacted versions of those documents, as proposed by Napout (Dkt. No. 596-1 at 15), would serve no purpose, because it would not enable Napout or the other defendants to determine whether to move for suppression, given the scope of the redactions necessary to protect the governmental interests implicated by these documents. See United States v. Delia, 944 F.2d 1010, 1018 (2d Cir. 1991) (pursuant to Rule 16(d)(1), district court has discretion to “limit or otherwise regulate discovery”).

         Lastly, the Court finds that the government has demonstrated that its compelling interests are served by the specific postponement requested.[5] Indeed, a longer period may very well be justified, but, as the government recognizes, requiring disclosure three months before trial properly balances the government's compelling interest in the continued sealing of the warrants and affidavits with Napout's equally compelling interest in preparing his defense. For this reason, the Court denies Napout's request to “reconsider” the disclosure date of August 7, 2017.

         III. Napout Will Not Be Prejudiced by the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.