United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division
Richard Mills United States District Judge.
is Defendant Ralph D. Hathaway's pro se motion
for return of property under Rule 41(g) of the Federal Rules
of Criminal Procedure.
Defendant has filed a number of other pro se
reviewing the Defendant's motion and other filings and
the Government's response and evidence submitted in
support, the Court concludes that an evidentiary hearing is
reasons that follow, the Defendant's pro se
motion for return of property is denied.
Ralph D. Hathaway is serving a 400-month sentence, following
convictions for knowingly transporting a minor across state
lines to engage in criminal sexual activity and two counts of
traveling between states to do the same, pursuant to 18
U.S.C. § 2423(a), (b).
Government presented evidence that Defendant carried on a
sexual relationship with the minor-victim, LH, from 2013 to
June 2015. At the outset, the Defendant was 44-years-old and
LH was 13-years old. The Defendant made multiple trips from
his residence in Illinois to South Carolina for the purpose
of engaging in sexual intercourse with LH. On June 6, 2015,
the Defendant also transported LH from South Carolina over
state lines, for purposes of engaging in criminal sexual
activity. He was ultimately arrested and held in custody
beginning on July 27, 2015.
his trial, the Defendant filed a number of motions, some of
which were pro se even though he was always
represented by counsel. One motion (filed by counsel on the
Defendant's behalf) was a motion to dismiss the
indictment [Doc. No. 62], in which the Defendant claimed that
the Government seized a silver HP laptop computer and black
hard drive that contained exculpatory evidence. The Defendant
claimed the evidence was destroyed or misplaced by the
Government. In its response [Doc. No. 71] to the
Defendant's motion, the Government stated that multiple
laptops seized from the Defendant were returned to
Defendant's wife. The Government further noted that the
single hard drive which it seized was digitally copied and
made available to the Defendant on or about June 7,
Court held a hearing on the motion to dismiss and other
motions on August 17 and 18, 2016. At the hearing, the
Defendant did not challenge that the laptops were returned to
his wife or that the hard drive was made available to him.
The Government filed a post-hearing brief and the Court
denied the Defendant's motion, stating, “It is
unknown what happened to the items which are alleged to be
missing. However, there is no evidence that the items were
ever in the possession of the federal government.” Doc.
No. 73, 3-4.
to the Defendant's April 2017 sentencing hearing, the
Defendant filed pro se motions under Rule 41(g) of
the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure for the return of
property allegedly seized during the investigation.
See Doc. Nos. 120, 121. Neither the Court nor the
Government addressed the Defendant's motions at
his direct appeal, in August 2018, the Defendant filed
another pro se motion for return of property
pursuant to Rule 41(g). See Doc. No. 178. The
Government did not file a response. On October 10, 2018, the
Court denied the motion on the basis that Defendant would not
be able to possess such materials while in the custody of the
Bureau of Prisons.
October 22, 2018, the Defendant filed a motion for
reconsideration, clarifying that he was not requesting that
the property be sent to him in prison, but to a family member
who was then residing in the State of Illinois. See
Doc. No. 179. In a Text Order dated November 5, 2018, the
Court denied the motion for reconsideration, stating
(incorrectly) that the Defendant's motion for return of
property had been addressed at the April 2017 sentencing and
need not be revisited.
November 26, 2018, the Defendant filed a timely notice of
appeal, the Government asked the appellate court to vacate
the October 10 and November 5, 2018 Orders and remand the
case to this Court to address the factual questions necessary
to resolve the Defendant's motion for return of property.
“The court must receive evidence on any factual issue
necessary to decide the motion.” Fed. R. Crim. P.
Seventh Circuit granted the Government's motion for
remand and remanded the case for reconsideration in light of
position taken in the Government's motion.
Defendant has filed several motions relating to the return of
property. On August 22, 2018, the Defendant sought the return
of the following various items:
• Adult novelty items (seven items enumerated);
• Medication (five items enumerated);
• Bedding (two items enumerated);
• One laptop computer;
• One external hard drive;
• Six notebooks;
• Surveillance system supplies (described as one
“[g]rey small notebook-type with metal silver casing
Acer (or) HP”);
• Four manuscripts authored by the Defendant; and
• Printouts of all communications and letters from the
victim to the Defendant.
Defendant has filed a pro se motion to admit
affidavits. The Court has considered the affidavits and
witness statements of his family members and friends, which
relate to events which he claims occurred in June and July of
Government states it is not in possession of any of the items
sought by the Defendant. Many of the items have never been in
its possession. Some of the items were in the
Government's possession, but were later returned to the
Defendant's family or used as evidence at trial. Two of
the items were reported by the Defendant as having been taken
in an alleged burglary prior to his arrest.
Items alleged to have been seized
Government claims it inventoried 34 pieces of evidence for
potential use at trial. Some of these were items discovered
during executions of search warrants. Others were voluntarily
provided by LH or other parties related to the case. Each
piece of evidence was inventoried by the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI). Relying on the affidavit of case agent
Robert J. Krivanek, who on August 31, 2016, conducted a
review of all evidence collected and inventoried by the ...