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United States v. Crumpton

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

November 7, 2017

United States of America, Plaintiff,
Kelvin Crumpton, Defendant.

          Mona K. Majzoub U.S. Magistrate Judge


          Arthur J. Tarnow Senior United States District Judge

         On February 14, 2017, Defendant Kelvin Crumpton, through counsel, filed a Motion for New Trial on Count 1 Based on Newly Discovered Evidence of Government's Due Process Violation Under Brady v. Maryland and Kyles v. Whitley [83]. On March 30, 2017, the Government filed its Response [86]. Defendant filed a Reply [87] on April 14, 2017. The Court held a hearing on the Motion on October 18, 2017.

         For the reasons stated below, Defendant's Motion for New Trial [83] is DENIED.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         On September 5, 2014, a jury convicted Mr. Crumpton of Felon in Possession of Ammunition (Count 1) and Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin and Other Controlled Substances (Count 2). [Dkt. #43]. The case arose following the execution of a search warrant by the Wayne County Sheriff's Department on October 18, 2013 at 745 Sloan. Upon execution of the warrant, the police recovered, among other things, rounds of ammunition, controlled substances, and digital scales.

         At trial, the Government called witnesses Sgt. Donald Farris and Agent Gregory Lotoczky who testified that the controlled substances were found in the rear area of the premises, where Mr. Crumpton lived. Sgt. Farris further testified that the ammunition (the subject of Count 1), a blue digital scale containing heroin residue (GX 21), and a black digital scale (GX 26) were found in the front of the premises, near the fish tank. T. Tr. at 13:3-6; 25:18-24; 32:1-2 (Sep. 4, 2014).

         Following his conviction, Mr. Crumpton filed a Motion for Judgment of an Acquittal, or in the Alternative, Conditional Motion for New Trial on September 14, 2014. [Dkt. #44]. On February 12, 2015, the Court granted his Motion for Judgment of Acquittal. [Dkt. #51]. The Court further held that Mr. Crumpton was entitled to a new trial should the bases of acquittal be reversed. Id. at 27. On March 11, 2015, the Government filed a Notice of Appeal [57].

         On June 2, 2016, the Sixth Circuit reversed the Court's decision granting the Motion for Judgment of Acquittal and New Trial. United States v. Crumpton, 824 F.3d 593, 600 (6th Cir. 2016). The Sixth Circuit reinstated the jury's verdict and remanded for resentencing. Id.

         In December 2016, Mr. Crumpton's counsel submitted a FOIA request to the Wayne County Sheriff's Department. [Dkt. #83 at 8]. In response to the request, counsel received a Wayne County Sherriff's Office Evidence Log (Exhibit E) documenting the October 18, 2013 search of 745 Sloan. Id. The Evidence Log stated that the blue scale with heroin residue (hereinafter “GX 21”) was recovered from the dining table in the rear of the premises. Exhibit E.

         The newly discovered Evidence Log's documentation that GX 21 was seized from the rear of the premises plainly contradicts Sgt. Farris' testimony that it was seized from the front of the premises near the fish tank.

         In his Motion [83], Mr. Crumpton argues that the Court should grant a new trial on Count 1 because the Evidence Log contradicts the ATF records and Government testimony as to the location of GX 21. Mr. Crumpton further submits that “the Evidence Log is material as to where GX 21 was found, material impeachment as to the veracity of Sgt. Ferris' testimony, and exculpatory as to whether Defendant in fact ‘possessed' the ammunition, or merely knew it was there.”[1] [Dkt. #87 at 2].

         In support of his argument, Mr. Crumpton maintains that GX 21, as the only scale recovered containing drug residue, was circumstantially linked to the drugs found in the rear of the house. Mr. Crumpton further maintains that Sgt. Ferris' testimony on GX 21's close proximity to the bullets was critical to his conviction on Count 1. [Dkt. #87 at 3]. In sum, Mr. Crumpton argues that there is a reasonable probability that he would not have been convicted of Count 1 had this evidence been presented to the jury. [Dkt. #83 at 11].

         The Government concedes that it should have turned over the Evidence Log to the defense under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1983). Nevertheless, the Government submits that given the “overwhelming” evidence against Mr. Crumpton at trial, including Mr. Crumpton's incriminating statements to law enforcement as to the location of the ammunition, [Dkt. #86 at 11], and Mr. Crumpton's possession at the time of trial of a handwritten evidence log (Exhibit A) that ...

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