United States District Court, D. Nebraska
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
R. ZWART UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Musa Harris, who is represented by appointed counsel, has
filed the following pro se motions:
Filing No. 59: Motion to Sever
Filing No. 62: Motion and Demand for Disclosure of
Filing No. 65: Motion For Early Disclosure Of Grand Jury
considered the pro se defendant's submissions, the
motions will be denied.
to Sever (Filing No. 59)
Harris and Musa Harris, co-defendants in this action, are
siblings. They are charged in a Superseding Indictment with
conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture or
substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine.
(Filing No. 31).
persons charged in a conspiracy or jointly indicted on
similar evidence should be tried together. United States
v. Lewis, 557 F.3d 601, 609 (8th Cir. 2009);
United States v. Brown, 331 F.3d 591, 595 (8th Cir.
2003). But even when joinder is proper under Rule 8, pursuant
to Rule 14 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, a
judge may order severance if joinder at trial will prejudice
the defendant. Lewis, 557 F.3d at 609; United
States v. Wadena, 152 F.3d 831, 849 (8th Cir. 1998).
Rule 14 provides:
If it appears that a defendant or the government is
prejudiced by a joinder of offenses or of defendants in an
indictment or information or by such joinder for trial
together, the court may order an election or separate trials
of counts, grant a severance of defendants or provide
whatever other relief justice requires. In ruling on a motion
by a defendant for severance the court may order the attorney
for the government to deliver to the court for inspection in
camera any statements or confessions made by the defendants
which the government intends to introduce in evidence at the
defendants are properly joined, a strong presumption exists
in favor of trying the defendants together because a joint
trial affords the jury the best perspective on all of the
evidence, thereby increasing the likelihood of a correct
outcome. Lewis, 557 F.3d at 6099. This presumption
can only be overcome if the prejudice is “severe or
compelling.” United States v. Crumley, 528
F.3d 1053, 1063 (8th Cir.2008). The defendant seeking
severance carries a heavy burden and “must show
‘real prejudice, ' that is, ‘something more
than the mere fact that [s]he would have had a better chance
for acquittal had [s]he been tried separately.”
United States v. Mickelson, 378 F.3d 810, 817 (8th
Cir. 2004)(quoting United States v. Oakie,
12 F.3d 1436, 1441 (8th Cir. 1993) (citing United States
v. Adkins, 842 F.2d 210, 211-12 (8th Cir.1988))).
Harris argues “the spill-over effect” of Isa
Harris' past and present bad acts will be unfairly
prejudicial to Musa Harris if the defendants are tried
together. In support of this claim, Musa Harris outlines his
work history, arguing he “would have to be two
persons” to both run a full scale drug distribution
network and perform his lawful employment responsibilities.
He further argues any contacts with his brother in Nebraska
were solely sibling family visits.
Harris has presented no evidence that a jury will be unable
to compartmentalize the evidence, by defendant, or that a
limiting instruction would be insufficient. He presents
little more than ...