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United States v. Minter

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Newnan Division

September 19, 2014


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Jasen C. Minter, Defendant, Pro se, Fayetteville, GA.

For Jasen C. Minter, Defendant: Benjamin Black Alper, Law Offices of Howard J. Weintraub, P.C., Atlanta, GA; Howard Jarrett Weintraub, Law Offices of Weintraub & Alper, P.C., Atlanta, GA.

Louis E. Nock, Defendant, Pro se, Orlando, FL.

For Louis E. Nock, Defendant: Suzanne Hashimi, LEAD ATTORNEY, Federal Defender Program Inc.-Atl, Atlanta, GA.

For USA, Plaintiff: Jamie L Mickelson, U.S. Attorney's Office-ATL, Atlanta, GA.

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Timothy C. Batten, Sr., United States District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Defendant Jasen Minter's objections [103] to Magistrate Judge Vineyard's Report and Recommendation (" R& R" ) [95], which recommends that Defendants' motion to dismiss the indictment [19] be denied and that Minter be found competent to stand trial.

A district judge has a duty to conduct a " careful and complete" review of a magistrate judge's R& R. Williams v. Wainwright, 681 F.2d 732, 732 (11th Cir. 1982) (quoting Nettles v. Wainwright, 677 F.2d 404, 408 (5th Cir. 1982)).[1] This review may take different forms, however, depending on whether there are objections to the R& R. The district judge must " make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). The district judge must " give fresh consideration to those issues to which specific

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objection has been made by a party." Jeffrey S. v. State Bd. of Educ., 896 F.2d 507, 512 (11th Cir. 1990). In contrast, those portions of the R& R to which no objection is made need only be reviewed for clear error. Macort v. Prem, Inc., 208 F.App'x 781, 784 (11th Cir. 2006).[2]

" Parties filing objections must specifically identify those findings objected to. Frivolous, conclusive or general objections need not be considered by the district court." Nettles, 677 F.2d at 410 n.8. " This rule facilitates the opportunity for district judges to spend more time on matters actually contested and produces a result compatible with the purposes of the Magistrates Act." Id. at 410.

The district judge also has discretion to decline to consider arguments that were not raised before the magistrate judge. Williams v. McNeil, 557 F.3d 1287, 1292 (11th Cir. 2009). Indeed, a contrary rule " would effectively nullify the magistrate judge's consideration of the matter and would not help to relieve the workload of the district court." Id. (quoting United States v. Howell, 231 F.3d 615, 622 (9th Cir. 2000)).

After conducting a complete and careful review of the R& R, the district judge may accept, reject or modify the magistrate judge's findings and recommendations. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); Williams, 681 F.2d at 732. The district judge may also receive further evidence or recommit the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C).

The Court has conducted a careful, de novo review of the R& R and Minter's objections thereto. Having done so, the Court finds that Magistrate Judge Vineyard's factual and legal conclusions were correct. Minter objects to (1) the determination that the Court's order tolling the statute of limitations covered both of the Government's requests for foreign assistance under 18 U.S.C. § 3292; (2) the determination that the statute of limitations remains tolled and that the indictment was therefore timely; and (3) the conclusion that Minter is competent to stand trial. The Court addresses these issues below and finds that this Court's tolling order embraced the Government's two foreign requests and that the statute of limitations remains tolled. The Court also agrees that Minter, despite extensive and incongruous evidence of his alleged amnesia, is competent to stand trial.

I. Background

Captain Jasen Minter and Sergeant First Class Louis Nock, were U.S. Army finance officers assigned to the finance office at the U.S. Military Training Mission (" USMTM" ) in Saudi Arabia. Minter and Nock are charged with embezzling more than $2.7 million from U.S. government accounts held by the Saudi American Bank (" SAMBA" ) in Riyadh. In 2006, Defendants allegedly withdrew large sums of cash from the U.S. military's SAMBA account, which they were responsible for transferring to the USMTM finance office

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vault. Instead, Minter and Nock purportedly sent the currency back to the United States for their personal use. Roughly two years later, the U.S. Department of Defense conducted two audits of the USMTM and discovered that over $2.7 million was missing from the SAMBA account. The discrepancies between SAMBA account withdrawals and corresponding cash vault deposits were traced to the 2006 dates during which Minter and Nock served as finance officers. Subsequent investigation revealed significant amounts of unexplained income as well as cash purchases of real property and tangible assets by the Defendants and their families following their return to the United States.

The indictment charges Minter and Nock in count one with conspiracy to commit theft of government property between June 10, 2006 and May 8, 2007, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371; in counts two and three with embezzlement of government property on June 12, 2006 and August 30, 2006, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § § 641 and 642; and in counts four and five with concealment of stolen government property between June 12, 2006 and December 5, 2006, and between August 30, 2006 and December 5, 2006, both in violation of § § 641 and 642. Each of these charges is subject to a five-year statute of limitations. See 18 U.S.C. ยง 3282. Therefore, the statute of ...

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