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United States v. Jones

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

June 1, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee,
v.
EDWARD DENNIS JONES, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued: March 23, 2017

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, at Lynchburg. Norman K. Moon, Senior District Judge. (6:14-cr-00015-NKM-1)

         ARGUED:

          Abram John Pafford, PAFFORD LAW FIRM, PLLC, Lynchburg, Virginia, for Appellant.

          Erin Marie Harrigan Kulpa, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Charlottesville, Virginia, for Appellee.

         ON BRIEF:

          John P. Fishwick, Jr., United States Attorney, Craig J. Jacobsen, Assistant United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Roanoke, Virginia, for Appellee.

          Before MOTZ, THACKER, and HARRIS, Circuit Judges.

         Reversed and remanded by published opinion. Judge Thacker wrote the opinion, in which Judge Motz and Judge Harris joined.

          THACKER, Circuit Judge:

         On October 10, 2012, Edward Jones ("Appellant") pled guilty to a one count information in the Eastern District of Virginia alleging conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. Per the information to which Appellant pled guilty, the Government alleged that from July 2012 to August 22, 2012, Appellant, along with two other people, conspired to purchase 17 kilograms of cocaine from a Drug Enforcement Agency Confidential Informant ("CI") in Lynchburg, Virginia. Thereafter, on July 24, 2014, Appellant was indicted in the Western District of Virginia for, among other offenses, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. In that conspiracy, the Government alleged that Appellant along with others -- including the same two people involved in the conspiracy to which he had previously pled guilty in the Eastern District of Virginia --operated a vast drug trafficking organization in the Lynchburg, Virginia area from 1998 through 2012.

         Appellant moved to dismiss the Western District of Virginia indictment on double jeopardy grounds. The district court denied the motion, reasoning that the longer time span and broader scope of the conspiracy alleged in the Western District of Virginia differentiated it from the conspiracy to which Appellant pled guilty in the Eastern District.

         We reverse. In the context of successive conspiracy prosecutions, we look at the characteristics of the conspiracy -- substantive violation, personnel, location, time span, and nature and scope -- to determine whether double jeopardy bars a second conspiracy prosecution. See United States v. Jarvis, 7 F.3d 404, 410-11 (4th Cir. 1993). In this case, there is substantial if not complete overlap on each element of our double jeopardy analysis. We therefore hold double jeopardy bars Appellant's follow-on prosecution in the Western District of Virginia for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846.

         I.

         A.

         Kirkley Hotel Transaction

         In July 2012, Alejandro Martinez-Mata contacted a CI in Richmond, Virginia, to arrange a purchase of multiple kilograms of cocaine. After preliminary negotiations over the phone, co-conspirators Martinez-Mata and Roberto Sanchez-Rogue met the CI in Danville, Virginia. They agreed to a sale of 17 kilograms of cocaine for $30, 000 a kilogram ($510, 000 total). Thereafter, on August 22, 2012, Martinez-Mata and Sanchez-Rogue met the CI at a restaurant in Lynchburg to consummate the deal. The CI and Sanchez-Rogue then proceeded to the Kirkley Hotel in Lynchburg, Virginia, where they met Appellant. All three walked into a hotel room where law enforcement officials were waiting and arrested Appellant and Sanchez-Rogue. Law enforcement officials confiscated $570, 359.00 from Appellant (the "Kirkley Hotel Transaction").

         On October 10, 2012, Appellant pled guilty in the Eastern District of Virginia to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. As a result, Appellant was sentenced to 135 months in prison.

         B.

         The Lynchburg Conspiracy

         On July 24, 2014, Appellant was indicted in the Western District of Virginia for, among other offenses, one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. Appellant was indicted on the conspiracy count along with alleged co-conspirators Bryce Carter, Carlos Jackson, Jeroid Matthews, Tony Monroe, Tyrone Lewis, Lateef Jones, and Randall Falwell.

         In connection with this conspiracy count, the Government alleged that Appellant "was the leader of [a] drug trafficking organization which was responsible for distributing more than 1, 000 kilograms of cocaine in the Lynchburg area over the span of approximately 14 years" from 1998 until 2012. Sentencing Memorandum, United States v. Carter, No: 6-14-cr-00015 (W.D. Va. March 7, 2017), ECF No. 353, 2-3 (hereinafter Carter Sentencing Memorandum). As alleged, the Lynchburg drug trafficking organization obtained ...


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