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United States v. Tillman

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Brunswick Division

June 23, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
KASEAN TILLMAN

          ORDER

          R. STAN BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         For the reasons set forth below and at the June 21, 2017, hearing, the Court GRANTS as unopposed Defendant's Motion for Release of Brady Materials, (doc. 40), DISMISSES as moot Defendant's Motion for Jencks Act Material, (doc. 41), DISMISSES as moot Defendant's Motion to Preserve Evidence, (doc. 42), GRANTS Defendant's Motion for Discovery and Inspection, (doc. 43), and DISMISSES as moot Defendant's Motion for Jackson-Denno Hearing, (doc. 44).

         BACKGROUND

         In this action, the Government charged Defendant Kasean Tillman and a co-defendant with: conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371; manufacturing counterfeit obligations, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 471; and uttering counterfeit obligations, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 472. (Doc. 1.) Defendant and the Government entered into a plea agreement on April 27, 2017. (Doc. 45.) Pursuant to that plea agreement, at the May 12, 2017, Rule 11 Hearing, Defendant entered a plea of guilty to Count Two of the Indictment, manufacturing counterfeit obligations, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 471.

         Prior to his entry of a guilty plea, Defendant, through counsel, filed a number of pretrial Motions. Defendant's counsel and the Assistant United States Attorney filed a Joint Statement Regarding Motions in need of resolution prior to the sentencing hearing. (Doc. 57.) As a result of the parties' joint filing, the Court conducted a hearing on Defendant's Motions on June 21, 2017, at which Defendant, Defendant's counsel, the Assistant United States Attorney, and United States Secret Service (“USSS”) Special Agent Matthew Britsch appeared. At the hearing, the Court discussed the Joint Statement with counsel, as well as Defendant's Motions. The Court heard argument from counsel. Defendant's counsel expounded upon the arguments raised in his Motions, and the Assistant United States Attorney responded in opposition to Defendant's arguments. The parties did not present any testimony or documentary evidence.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Defendant's Motion for Release of Brady Materials

         The Court GRANTS as unopposed Defendant's Motion for Release of Brady[1]Materials. (Doc. 40.) As counsel noted, Brady issues are never moot, and the Government has a continuing obligation to provide a defendant with any and all evidence material to the defendant's guilt or punishment. The Government's Brady obligations continue through the time of the sentencing hearing. See East v. Scott, 55 F.3d 996, 1002-04 (5th Cir. 1995) (discussing a claimed Brady violation during the sentencing phase). This ruling is no indication that the Government has not complied or will not continue to comply with its obligations under Brady in this or any other case.

         II. Defendant's Motion for Jencks Act Material

         The Court DISMISSES as moot Defendant's Motion for Jencks Act Material.[2](Doc. 41.) Defendant's counsel stated during the hearing that he assumed there were other reports of the Government's witnesses, but, after speaking with USSS Agent Britsch, he knows there are no reports concerning the examination of any of the currency at issue in this case. Additionally, the Assistant United States Attorney stated that the Government already has produced the statements of any of its witnesses who will testify during the sentencing hearing, in accordance with the United States Attorney's Office's practice of producing these statements well before trial.

         III. Defendant's Motion to Preserve Evidence The Court DISMISSES as moot Defendant's Motion to Preserve Evidence. (Doc. 42.) All parties are well aware of their duty to preserve evidence, and Defendant has not made any specific showing that any items material to the defense or prosecution of this case are in danger of being destroyed. The Assistant United States Attorney represented that the counterfeit currency it has in its possession, as well as the other materials relevant to this prosecution, shall remain in the Government's possession until the resolution of this case.

         IV. Defendant's Motion for Discovery and Inspection

         The Court GRANTS Defendant's Motion for Discovery and Inspection, (doc. 43), for the reasons and in the manner set forth herein. Pursuant to Rule 16(E) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the Government must, upon a defendant's request,

permit the defendant to inspect and to copy or photograph books, papers, documents, data, photographs, tangible objects, buildings or places, or copies or portions of any of these items, if the item is within the ...

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