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United States of America v. Dahveed Dean

December 14, 2012

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
DAHVEED DEAN, ET AL. DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Samuel Der-yeghiayan, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the court on Defendant Dahveed Dean's (Dean) and Defendant Terrance Daniels' (Daniels) post-trial motions. For the reasons stated below, the motions are denied.

BACKGROUND

On May 12, 2009, Dean and Daniels were charged in a six-count indictment. Dean was charged in Counts One and Five with bank robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a), and in Counts Two and Six with carrying a firearm in connection with a crime of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). Daniels was charged in Counts One and Three with bank robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a), and in Counts Two and Four with carrying a firearm in connection with a crime of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). Counts One and Two relate to a bank robbery that occurred on August 2, 2005, in South Holland, Illinois (Early August 2005 Robbery). Counts Three and Four relate to a bank robbery that occurred on August 25, 2005, in Skokie, Illinois (Late August 2005 Robbery). Counts Five and Six relate to a bank robbery that occurred on December 20, 2005, in Chicago, Illinois (December 2005 Robbery).

Prior to the trial, Dean filed several pre-trial motions, including (1) a motion to suppress evidence relating to the surveillance and arrest of Dean on October 7, 2005 (October 2005 Evidence), (2) a motion to quash Dean's 2006 arrest and suppress evidence relating to Dean's possession of two firearms on January 3, 2006 (January 2006 Evidence), (3) a motion to suppress telephone conversations recorded while Dean was incarcerated at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC Calls), and (4) three motions to sever Dean's trial from the trial of his co-defendant. The court held hearings relating to Dean's motion to suppress the October 2005 Evidence and Dean's motion to suppress the January 2006 Evidence. After the hearings, the court denied each of the motions. The court also denied Dean's motion to suppress the MCC Calls and Dean's motions for severance.

On September 10, 2012, a jury trial commenced in the instant action. Due to Daniels' prior disruptive behavior and his refusal to agree, under oath and prior to the commencement of the trial, that he would not disrupt the proceedings, Daniels was excluded from the courtroom during the trial pursuant to United States v. Benabe, 654 F3d 753, 765 (7th Cir. 2011). On September 21, 2012, Dean was found guilty by a jury on Counts One, Two, and Five, and not guilty on Count Six. Daniels was found guilty by a jury on Counts One, Two, Three, and Four. Dean has now moved to arrest judgment, or alternatively, for a new trial. Daniels has now moved for a judgment of acquittal notwithstanding the verdict, or alternatively, a new trial, or a mistrial.

LEGAL STANDARD

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 34 (Rule 34), "[u]pon the defendant's motion or on its own, the court must arrest judgment if: (1) the indictment or information does not charge an offense; or (2) the court does not have jurisdiction of the charged offense." Fed. R. Crim. P. 34; see also United States v. Boender, 2010 WL 2523420, at *2 (N.D. Ill. 2010)(stating that Rule 34 "provides that the court must arrest judgment if 'the indictment or information does not charge an offense,'" and "[t]hus, the rule raises a pure question of law distinct from the evidence adduced at trial")(quoting in part United States v. McLemore, 815 F.Supp. 432, 433 & n.3 (S.D. Ala. 1993)).

A defendant in a criminal case who has been found guilty by a jury may move for a judgment of acquittal under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29(c) (Rule 29(c)). Fed. R. Crim. P. 29(c). If the defendant is challenging the sufficiency of the evidence presented at trial, the court must "consider the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, drawing all reasonable inferences in the government's favor," and a "[r]eversal is appropriate only when, after viewing the evidence in such a manner, no rational jury 'could have found the defendant to have committed the essential elements of the crime.'" United States v. Macari, 453 F.3d 926, 936 (7th Cir. 2006)(quoting United States v. Masten, 170 F.3d 790, 794 (7th Cir. 1999)); see also United States v. Moses, 513 F.3d 727, 733 (7th Cir. 2008)(stating that "[a] district court should grant a motion for a judgment of acquittal only when there is insufficient evidence to sustain a conviction"); United States v. Pree, 408 F.3d 855, 865 (7th Cir. 2005)(stating that a motion for acquittal should be granted "only if, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the Government, no rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt").

A court may provide a defendant found guilty of a crime by a jury with a new trial under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 33(a) (Rule 33(a)) "if the interest of justice so requires." Fed. R. Crim. P. 33(a). The decision of whether a new trial is warranted is "committed 'to the sound discretion of the trial judge.'" United States v. Gillaum, 372 F.3d 848, 857-58 (7th Cir. 2004)(quoting United States v. Woolfolk, 197 F.3d 900, 904 (7th Cir. 1999)). In determining whether to grant a new trial, a court should exercise "great caution" and be "wary of second guessing the determinations of the . . . jury." Id. (internal quotations omitted)(quoting United States v. DePriest, 6 F.3d 1201, 1216 (7th Cir. 1993)); see also United States v. Van Eyl, 468 F.3d 428, 436 (7th Cir. 2006)(stating that "[a] defendant is entitled to a new trial if there is a reasonable possibility that a trial error had a prejudicial effect upon the jury's verdict").

DISCUSSION

I. Dean's Motions

Dean has filed a motion to arrest judgment pursuant to Rule 34. Dean has also moved for a new trial pursuant to Rule 33.

A. Motion to Arrest Judgment

In his motion to arrest judgment, Dean has not pointed to any specific defects in the indictment or presented any specific arguments relating to the court's lack of jurisdiction. Instead, Dean merely concludes that the indictment does not charge an offense and that the court did not have jurisdiction over the charged offense. The indictment charges Dean with violations of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) and 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a), and the court has jurisdiction over such offenses. Therefore, Dean's motion to arrest judgment is denied.

B. Motion for a New Trial

In support of his motion for a new trial, Dean argues that the court erroneously denied the pre-trial motions referenced above. Dean also argues that the court erred in allowing expert testimony relating to cell site records, in admitting testimony of Stanford Stogner (Stogner) relating to an unrelated act that occurred in January 2005, in admitting testimony of Marcus Moore (Moore) relating to events that occurred on October 7, 2005, in admitting testimony and the handguns seized from Dean's car in January 3, 2006, and in admitting testimony of LaChaune Vance (Vance) regarding conversations between Vance and Dean without a proper foundation being laid. Dean further argues that the court erred by limiting Dean's cross-examination of Moore, by refusing to conduct a limited inquiry into the meaning of certain comments made by one of the jurors (Juror) after the trial, and by denying Daniels' and Dean's motion for a mistrial. In addition, Dean argues that his convictions were against the manifest weight of the evidence based on the physical descriptions given of the bank robber said to be Dean in the Early August 2005 Robbery and the December 2005 Robbery.

1. Rulings on Certain Pre-Trial Motions

Dean argues the court erred in denying certain of Dean's pretrial ...


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