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United States v. Williams

United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Southern Division

October 3, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
ANTONIO WILLIAMS, Defendant.

ORDER

KIMBERLY A. SWANK, Magistrate Judge.

This matter is before the court on the following motions filed by Defendant Antonio Williams:

1. Motion to sequester government witnesses, filed September 12, 2014 [DE #263];
2. Motion for disclosure of Rule 807 evidence, filed September 12, 2014 [DE #260];
3. Motion for disclosure of Brady/Giglio material, filed September 12, 2014 [DE #262];
4. Motion for all Jencks Act material, filed September 12, 2014 [DE #261]; and
5. Motion for notice of intent to use Rule 404(b) evidence, filed September 12, 2014 [DE #259].

The government has responded to Defendant's motions, and the time for further filings has expired. The motions were referred to the undersigned for disposition by United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan.

BACKGROUND

Defendant Antonio Williams is one of twelve defendants in this case. On May 27, 2014, a federal grand jury returned a true bill of indictment charging Williams with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846 and conspiracy to import a quantity of cocaine into the United States, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 952(a), 960 and 963. Williams is set to be arraigned on October 16, 2014. Before the court are a number of pretrial motions filed by Williams.

DISCUSSION

I. Motion to Sequester Witnesses

Pursuant to Rule 615 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, Defendant Williams seeks an order (i) excluding all government witnesses from the courtroom during the examination of other witnesses; and (ii) prohibiting the prosecutor and the government's case agent(s) from revealing anything about the trial testimony of witnesses to other individuals whom the government will call to testify at trial. "At a party's request, the court must order witnesses excluded so that they cannot hear other witnesses' testimony." Fed.R.Evid. 615. Furthermore, "[e]ach witness is prohibited from discussing previous trial testimony with any other witness who has yet to testify at trial." United States v. McCall, No. 5:12-CR-351-10F, 2013 WL 2382306, at *1 (E.D. N.C. May 30, 2013) (citing United States v. Rhynes, 218 F.3d 310, 317 (4th Cir. 2000)). Pursuant to the rule, the government may exempt from sequestration one investigative agent involved in the criminal prosecution. See Fed.R.Evid. 615(b) (exempting from exclusion "an officer or employee of a party that is not a natural person, after being designated as the party's representative by its attorney"). "Under this exception [to Rule 615], the district court may allow the government's chief investigating agent to remain in the courtroom throughout the proceedings, even if he is expected to testify." United States v. Farnham, 791 F.2d 331, 334 (4th Cir. 1986).

The government acknowledges that sequestration is mandatory upon a party's request. Nevertheless, the government seeks leave to request that additional case agents be permitted to remain in the courtroom should the need arise. Only one case agent may be exempted from sequestration under the exception set forth in Rule 615(b). Farnham, 791 F.2d at 334-35. However, Rule 615 also authorizes the court to exempt from sequestration "a person whose presence a party shows to be essential to presenting the party's claim or defense." See Fed.R.Evid. 615(c). Should the government determine ...


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