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United States of America v. Margaret Davis

July 27, 2012

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MARGARET DAVIS, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Byron G. Cudmore, U.S. Magistrate Judge:

E-FILED

Friday, 27 July, 2012 01:46:19 PM Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

OPINION*fn1

This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Margaret Davis' Motion for Severance of Defendants Pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 14 and Bruton v. United States (d/e 33) (Motion to Sever), and her Motion for Transfer of Venue to Northern District of Illinois Pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 21(b) (d/e 35) (Motion to Transfer).

Davis and her co-defendant Tonja Cook are charged with mail fraud, and Davis is also charged with money laundering. Indictment (d/e 1). The Indictment alleges that Davis was the Program Director and Cook was the Treasurer of the Chicago Chapter of the Black Nurses Association (CCBNA). Both resided in Chicago, Illinois. The Indictment alleges that Davis and Cook engaged in a scheme to defraud Illinois state agencies by securing more than $1,000,000.00 in grants for the CCBNA and then diverting as much as $500,000.00 or more to their own benefit or the benefit of their families, friends and associates. Indictment, ¶ 26. The grant applications were submitted to the Springfield, Illinois, offices of the various agencies, and the checks were disbursed from offices in Springfield, Illinois, and sent to Davis and Cook in Chicago, Illinois. Indictment, Counts 1 through 14. The Indictment further alleges that Davis engaged in money laundering by depositing checks into a bank account and then cashing checks written on that account. Indictment, Counts 15 and 16.

MOTION TO SEVER

Defendant Cook has made incriminating admissions to law enforcement officers. Davis moves to sever her case from Cook because admission of Cook's statements at trial would be prejudicial to Davis. See Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123, 135-37 (1968). The Government states that Cook intends to plead and testify against Davis, so no Bruton problem will arise at trial. If Cook does not plead, the Government will advise the Court and may consent to a severance. The Court, therefore, will reserve ruling on the Motion to Sever at this time. The completion of the anticipated plea of Cook will render the Motion to Sever moot.

Davis argues that she is entitled to a ruling on the Motion to Sever now because she is in the process of preparing for trial and needs to know whether her trial will be severed. The Court disagrees. Davis can prepare for trial now. The Court will not allow a joint trial to proceed that would cause a Bruton problem.*fn2

MOTION TO TRANSFER

Davis moves to transfer the case to the Northern District of Illinois for the convenience of the parties. Fed. R. Crim. P. 21(b). Venue is proper in the District in which the crime was committed. U.S. Const. art. III, § 2 cl. 3; 18 U.S.C. § 3237(a); Fed. R. Crim. P. 18. The Indictment alleges that the crimes were committed in both this District and the Northern District of Illinois. Davis concedes that venue is ...


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