United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION & ORDER
S. ROMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Raheem Jones ("Defendant" or "Jones") has
been charged with criminal conduct under two separate
indictments, Indictment No. 15 Cr. 661 (NSR) (the
"present Indictment") and Indictment No. 17 Cr. 644
(NSR) (the "RICO Indictment"). Now before the Court
is the Government's application for a court order
consolidating these cases and permitting a joint trial.
Defendant not only fails to oppose the motion, but
affirmatively joins in the application. For the following
reasons, the motion is GRANTED on consent.
the present Indictment, Defendant is charged as a felon in
possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
922(g)(1) following the recovery of a handgun in a backpack
possessed by the Defendant. (Compl., ECF No. 1.) The criminal
charges stem from an incident which occurred on September 15,
2015, wherein law enforcement officers responded to a radio
run of shots fired in the vicinity of Clinton Avenue in New
Rochelle, New York. (Id. ¶ 3a.) Officers were
informed that an individual in a black BMW SUV fired shots
into another car. (Id. ¶ 3b.) An eyewitness
purportedly described the shooter as a black man with "a
decent amount of hair." (Id.) Shortly after the
shooting, officers located a vehicle matching the description
of the BMW SUV driving away from the vicinity of the
shooting. (Id. ¶ 3d.) Following a motor vehicle
and foot chase, Jones was apprehended, and a backpack
containing a handgun was recovered.
the subsequent RICO Indictment, Jones and seven other
co-defendants are charged with participating in a
racketeering conspiracy in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
1962(d) and the use of firearms in relation to the
racketeering in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). It is
alleged that from or about 2008 through 2017, Jones, along
with his co-conspirators, participated in a series of
criminal activities, including murder, assault, robbery, and
narcotics trafficking as a member of the "Goonies"
or Goon Squad. In furtherance of these crimes, it is alleged
that Jones possessed, brandished, and discharged firearms.
Government seeks a joint trial on the basis that the facts
and evidence to be presented in both cases are inextricably
intertwined. The Government asserts it will rely on the same
evidence it intends to proffer under the present Indictment
to prove key elements of the crimes charged in the RICO
Indictment. In particular, the Government asserts that
Jones's criminal conduct charged in the present
Indictment was committed in furtherance of the racketeering
conspiracy charged in the RICO Indictment.
of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that
"[t]he court may order that separate cases be tried
together as though brought in a single indictment or
information if all offenses and all defendants could have
been joined in a single indictment or information, "
Fed. R. Crim. P. 13. Thus, the decision to order two
indictments be tried together is left to the sound discretion
of the court. See United States v. Anlonelli Fireworks
Co., 155 F.2d 631, 635 (2d Cir.), cert, denied,
329 U.S. 742 (1946). In exercising such discretion, however,
the court must be mindful of the constraints created by Rule
8 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. See United
States v. Westcom, No. 13-CR-93, 2014 WL 12633537, at *3
(D. Vt. Apr. 23, 2014) (citing USA v. Halper, 590
F.2d 422, 42829 (2d Cir. 1978)).
8(b) provides, in relevant part, that an indictment may
charge two or more defendants if they are alleged to have
participated in the same act or transaction, or in the same
series of acts or transactions, constituting an offense or
set of offenses. Fed. R. dim. P. 8(b). Further, joinder of
offenses under the Rule 8(b) is permissible if the offenses
are of the same or similar character such that evidence of
the separate crimes would be admissible at the separate
trials. Halper, 590 F.2d at 431. In such cases, the
defendant is not unfairly prejudiced by the joint trial of
the offenses. Id.
instant matters, not only are the offenses related but
evidence from the present Indictment is relevant to, and
substantially supports the charges alleged in the RICO
Indictment. Additionally, the same evidence would be used to
prove the crimes charged under the present Indictment and
portions of the RICO Indictment. Taking into consideration
judicial efficiency and the minimal risk of prejudice to the
Defendant, the Government's application for a joint trial
foregoing reasons, the Government's motion for a court
order directing that Indictment No. 15 Cr. 661 and Indictment
17 Cr. 644 be jointly tried is GRANTED. The Clerk of the
Court is respectfully directed to terminate the final
pre-trial conference scheduled on December 1, 2017 and
adjourn sine die the trial scheduled to commence
December 11, 2017.
Clerk of the Court is also respectfully directed to terminate
the motion at ECF No. 28. This constitutes ...