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. Hawkins

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

December 12, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JESSE HAWKINS D-1, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          LINDA V. PARKER U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         On March 20, 2019, a federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment charging Jesse Hawkins (“Jesse”) and his brother Price Hawkins (collectively Defendants) with firearm offenses. Jesse is charged in two counts of the Indictment: (1) Receipt of a Firearm While Under Indictment in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(n); and (2) Possession of an Unregistered Firearm in violation of 26 U.S.C. §§ 5841, 5861(d) and 5871. The matter is presently before the Court on the following motions filed by Jesse:[1]

         (1) Motion for Disclosure of Witness List, Exhibit List and Additional Witness Information in Advance of Trial (ECF No. 43);

         (2) Motion to Suppress Evidence (Cell Phone) (ECF No. 45); and, (3) Motion to Suppress Post-Arrest Statement (ECF No. 48).

         The motions have been fully briefed. The Court held a hearing with respect to Jesse's motion to suppress his post-arrest statement, only, on November 13, 2019.

         Background

         The charges against Defendants arise from the Michigan State Police (“MSP”) Department's investigation of drug sales by Jesse at the home he shared with his family in Inkster, Michigan. On June 6, 2018, MSP Detective Trooper Jeff Rucinski signed and submitted an affidavit in support of a warrant to search the home. According to the affidavit, a Canton Township Police Department confidential informant (“CI”) reported that a narcotics trafficker with the street name “Lil Jesse” sells marijuana out of the residence, where he lives with his mother, father, and brothers. (Aff. for a Search Warrant at 3.)

         The CI reported that Lil Jesse uses a cell phone to conduct narcotic sales and the CI shared that No. with law enforcement. (Id.) Using a database, officers linked the cell phone No. to Jesse. (Id.) When shown a photograph of Jesse, the CI confirmed that this was who the CI was referring to as “Lil Jesse.” (Id.) The CI also was shown a photograph of the residence, which the CI identified as the location where Jesse sells marijuana. (Id.) According to the CI, Jesse sometimes has his brothers sell the marijuana for him if he is not home. (Id.) The CI indicated that he had purchased marijuana from Jesse at the residence on numerous occasions. (Id.)

         The CI also informed law enforcement that Jesse has several firearms inside the residence. (Id.) According to the CI, Jesse showed him a mini Draco AK-47, a micro Draco AK-47, an AR-15 (with a 100-round drum), an MP40 submachine gun, and pistols inside the residence. (Id.)

         Within forty-eight hours of Detective Trooper Rucinski's affidavit, the CI made a controlled purchase of marijuana from Jesse at the Inkster residence. (Id. at 5.) The CI reported that Jesse had a pistol on his person inside the residence during the drug transaction and that the CI observed a mini Draco AK-47 in the living room. (Id.) The CI does not have a medical marijuana card and had been deemed reliable by law enforcement on at least two previous occasions. (Id.)

         Detective Trooper Rucinski stated in his affidavit that he knows, based upon his training and experience, that drug traffickers usually keep firearms to protect the drugs they distribute and the proceeds from that distribution. (Id. at 2-3.) Detective Trooper Rucinski added that drug traffickers also commonly use electronic equipment, including mobile and cellular phones, to aid them in their drug trafficking activities. (Id.) Further, according to Detective Trooper Rucinski, drug traffickers take or cause to be taken photographs of themselves, their associates, their property, and their product, which are commonly kept at their residences. (Id.)

         The search warrant, issued by a judicial officer in Michigan's 36th District Court on June 6, 2018, allowed for the search of the Inkster residence and the seizure of inter alia “[a]ny and all communication devices including but not limited to cell phones and pagers.” (Id. at 7.) The warrant further authorized “[t]he search, seizure, manual examination and the forensic examination of any and all … communication devices …, including but not limited to cell phones ….” (Id.) Law enforcement officers executed the search warrant on June 7, 2018. Jesse, his girlfriend, Price, and other family members were present at the time.

         Jesse was in the home's southwest bedroom when the officers arrived. In the bedroom, the officers found a magazine rifle, marijuana packaged into 23 separate baggies, a digital scale, money (including money whose serial No. matched the money the CI used in the controlled drug buy less than 48 hours earlier), and Jesse's cell phone. Another firearm was found in the kitchen.

         Price was in the basement when the officers arrived, which was set up as a bedroom. His phone, which was on the bed, was seized by the officers. Next to the bed was a duffle bag containing ammunition and a short-barreled rifle. The officers subsequently reviewed text messages on and completed a forensic examination of Price's phone.

         On March 17, 2019, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (“ATF”) agents arrested Jesse pursuant to a warrant issued in this case and ATF Special Agent Matthew Rummel (“Agent Rummel”) and MSP Detective Trooper Jeff Rucinski interrogated him. The interview was recorded, and a copy was filed on the docket. Jesse and the Government also supplied the Court with their transcriptions of the interview. (ECF Nos. 48-1, 61-1.)

         Motion for Disclosure of Witness List, Exhibit List and Additional Witness Information in Advance of Trial (ECF No. 43)

         Jesse seeks to compel the Government to provide its witness and exhibit lists and witness information prior to trial, including the grand jury testimony of any witnesses. He argues that early disclosure of this information is needed “to permit reasonable preparation by the defense.” (Mot. at 2, ECF No. 43 at Pg ID 157.) The Government opposes Jesse's motion, arguing that disclosure is not required by law. The Government indicates, however, that it will provide any Jencks Act materials to Jesse one week before trial.

         It is well-settled that there is no general constitutional right to discovery in a criminal case. See Weatherford v. Bursey, 429 U.S. 545, 559 (1997); United States v. Presser, 844 F.2d 1275, 1281 (6th Cir. 1988). This rule is tempered by the prosecution's obligation under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 87 (1963), to provide the defendant with information favorable to his defense and material to either guilt or punishment. “It does not follow from the prohibition against concealing evidence favorable to the accused that the prosecution must reveal before trial the names of all witnesses who will testify unfavorably.” Weatherford, 429 U.S. at 559; see also United States v. Todd, 920 F.2d 399, 405 (6th Cir. 1990) (quoting Weatherford, 429 U.S. at 559) (“[t]he Supreme Court has made clear that the Brady rule is not an evidentiary rule which grants broad discovery powers to a defendant and that ‘[t]here is no general right to discovery in a criminal case.'”)

         Rule 16 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure likewise does not require the disclosure of witness names. United States v. Conder, 423 F.2d 904, 910 (6th Cir. 1970); see also United States v. Dark, 597 F.2d 1097, 1099 (6th Cir. 1979); United States v. Carter, 621 F.2d 238, 240 (6th Cir. 1980) (explaining that Rule 16 “has never been held to provide a broader basis for discovery than 18 U.S.C. § 3500[, ]” which provides that the “United States is generally under no duty to provide the statement of a government witness until that witness has testified on direct examination in the case.”). This District's Standing Order for Discovery reflects the absence of a general duty to disclose the names of government witnesses before trial: “[G]overnment counsel [shall not] be required to automatically disclose the names of government witnesses.” E.D. Mich. Standing Order for Discovery & Inspection & Fixing Motion Cut-Off Date in Criminal Cases at 2 (Oct. 2003). The order requires the parties to submit their list of witnesses the day before trial for the court's review, only, “[t]o enable the judge to better estimate the length of trial[.]” Id. at 4. The order further provides that exhibit lists must be submitted to the court, only, three days prior to trial. Id. at 3. As reflected in the Scheduling Order initially entered in this case on April 1, 2019, the undersigned generally requires the parties to submit their witness lists to chambers two weeks before trial. (ECF No. 21.)

         While Jesse cannot obtain the discovery requested as a matter of right, the Sixth Circuit has indicated that district courts have the discretion to order the prosecution to produce discovery “when justice requires it[.]” See United States v. Kendricks, 623 F.2d 1165, 1168 (6th Cir. 1980) (citations omitted); Presser, 844 F.2d at 1285 n.12. And to obtain early disclosure of grand jury material, a defendant must show a “compelling necessity . . . a ‘particularized need' rather than a general one.” United States v. Short, 671 F.2d 178, 184 (6th Cir.), cert. denied, 457 U.S. 1119 (1982). This is a “ ‘difficult burden' ” to satisfy. United States v. Azad, 809 F.2d 291, 295 (6th Cir. 1986) (quoting United States v. Battista, 646 F.2d 237, 242 (6th Cir.), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 1046 (1981)).

         Jesse fails to demonstrate that justice requires the early disclosure of the Government's witness or exhibit lists or that there is a “compelling necessity” or “particularized need” for the disclosure of grand jury material. He does not identify any circumstances that distinguish his case from every other criminal proceeding. The facts supporting the charges against Defendants are straightforward; the evidence is not voluminous or complex.

         For these reasons, the Court is denying Jesse's Motion for Disclosure of Witness List, Exhibit List, and Additional Witness Information in Advance of Trial.

         Motion to Suppress Evidence (Cell Phone)

         Jesse seeks to suppress evidence seized from his cell phone, arguing that the evidence is unrelated to the initial basis for the probable cause to seize and search the phone-that being, Jesse's alleged narcotics trafficking. Jesse argues that the search warrant was unduly broad in that it allowed 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.