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United States v. Good

United States District Court, D. Nebraska

April 4, 2019


v.
JOHN CHRISTOPHER GOOD, Defendants.

          ORDER

          Cheryl R. Zwart United States Magistrate Judge.

         Defendant Good has filed a motion to sever and for in camera review of statements, claiming joinder of his claims with all other defendants is prejudicial. Good further “asserts his right to speedy trial and does not consent to have his trial delayed because charges against him have been joined with charges against other defendants.” (Filing No. 339).

         For the reasons discussed below, the motion to sever and motion for in camera review will be denied, but without prejudice to re-asserting fourteen days before trial. Defendant's right to speedy trial has been and will continue to be afforded.[1]

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Joinder of counts in an indictment is governed by Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure which provides:

(a) Joinder of Offenses. The indictment or information may charge a defendant in separate counts with 2 or more offenses if the offenses charged--whether felonies or misdemeanors or both--are of the same or similar character, or are based on the same act or transaction, or are connected with or constitute parts of a common scheme or plan.
(b) Joinder of Defendants. The indictment or information may charge 2 or more defendants if they are alleged to have participated in the same act or transaction, or in the same series of acts or transactions, constituting an offense or offenses. The defendants may be charged in one or more counts together or separately. All defendants need not be charged in each count.

         Fed.R.Crim.P. 8.

         However, 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. See United States v. Wadena, 152 F.3d 831, 849 (8th Cir. 1998). Rule 14 provides:

(a) Relief. If the joinder of offenses or defendants in an indictment, an information, or a consolidation for trial appears to prejudice a defendant or the government, the court may order separate trials of counts, sever the defendants' trials, or provide any other relief that justice requires.
(b) Defendant's Statements. Before ruling on a defendant's motion to sever, the court may order an attorney for the government to deliver to the court for in camera inspection any defendant's statement that the government intends to use as evidence.

         Fed.R.Crim.P. 14.

         The granting or denying of a motion to sever rests in the discretion of the court. The defendant bears the burden of showing that, absent severing the claims, he will be prejudiced at trial. Willi ...


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