the defendants entered guilty pleas but that the defendants would face a minimum of two months and a maximum of seven months in jail if they were convicted after a trial on the felony charges. Seikaly also showed Seligman a resolution that was introduced in Congress on February 20, 1990, which was captioned "Expressing the Sense of Congress that the demonstrators who threw blood on the Capitol and the White House should be charged with a felony." This resolution concluded with the statement that "the demonstrators should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and be charged with a felony."
On February 21, 1990, a complaint was issued in District Court charging the defendants with one count of Depredation of Property of the United States in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1361. The penalty for violating 18 U.S.C. § 1361 is a fine of not more than $ 10,000 or by imprisonment for not more than ten years, or both. On February 22, 1990, the misdemeanor cases were dismissed in Superior Court over the objection of the defendants based on due process violations and with offers by the defendants to enter pleas of guilty to the misdemeanor charges. On March 8, the defendants were arraigned before this Court and charged with violating 18 U.S.C. § 1361.
B. Due Process
The defendants contend that the transfer violates their due process rights under the fifth amendment because under the Guidelines the government can determine with precision what a sentence will be and exploit this knowledge by discouraging the defendants from exercising their right to a jury trial. See United States v. Holland, 729 F. Supp. 125, 131 (D.D.C. 1990); United States v. Roberts, 726 F. Supp. 1359, 1369 (D.D.C. 1989).
The defendants' argument based on the facts of the instant case is without merit. The specific harm or technical advantage which is implicated by the Guidelines is that a prosecutor may use the threat of transfer to coerce a guilty plea in Superior Court.
However, on February 20, when the prosecutor informed defense counsel that the defendants would be indicted in District Court, he further specifically apprised defense counsel that the Superior Court charges would be dismissed and the defendants would not be permitted to plead guilty to the original charges. Moreover, the prosecutor further told the defense counsel that no plea offer was authorized to the federal charges at that time. If the government were in fact attempting to deny the defendants a public forum and jury trial then all reason would suggest that the government would have pursued the opportunity to exercise its technical advantage, accept the pleas, and close the matter as a success. The facts of the instant case are far removed from the cases in which a prosecutor tells the defense counsel that if the defendant does not immediately plead guilty in Superior Court then the case will be transferred to District Court where more severe penalties will be imposed under the Guidelines or pursuant to mandatory minimums. Accordingly, this Court finds that any suggestion that the government was exercising its knowledge of the Guidelines simply to force the defendants from proceeding with a trial is belied by the facts of the record. When the government could have accepted guilty pleas and avoided a public trial it unequivocally rejected the opportunity; there was no exercise of any technical advantage which implicated the defendants' constitutional rights.
C. Prosecutorial Vindictiveness
The defendants further contend that the increase in charges and the transfer constitute prosecutorial vindictiveness. Actions by the prosecution are "vindictive" when the government acts against a defendant after a defendant's exercise of constitutional rights. See United States v. Goodwin, 457 U.S. 368, 372, 73 L. Ed. 2d 74, 102 S. Ct. 2485 (1982). The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has held that there is a presumption of prosecutorial vindictiveness when the prosecutor increases charges after the defendant has exercised a legal right if there are additional facts that, together, create a "realistic likelihood of vindictiveness." United States v. Meyer, 258 U.S. App. D.C. 263, 810 F.2d 1242, 1246, vacated, 259 U.S. App. D.C. 391, 816 F.2d 695, reinstated on reconsideration en banc sub nom Bartlett on Behalf of Neuman v. Bowen, 263 U.S. App. D.C. 260, 824 F.2d 1240 (D.C. Cir. 1987), cert. denied, 485 U.S. 940, 108 S. Ct. 1121, 99 L. Ed. 2d 281 (1988). Factors which may support a presumption of vindictiveness when a prosecutor increases charges after the defendant asserts constitutional rights include: (1) the defendant had no notice that this increase might occur and (2) the defendant's own conduct after the initial charging decision did not give the government "a legitimate reason to enhance the charges." Id. Once a presumption of vindictiveness exists, the burden of presenting evidence then shifts to the government to justify the action in question. Id. at 1245.
This Court finds that the action of the government does not rise to a presumption of vindictiveness. Although the charges were enhanced to a felony when the government transferred the case from the Superior Court to the District Court, no additional facts or circumstances exist to support a finding of a "realistic likelihood of vindictiveness."
In the instant case, the defendants contend that the motive of the government in transferring the case to the federal court was to
severely discourage the defendants from choosing to exercise their constitutional right to a jury trial. The prosecutor calculated the sentences [under the Guidelines] that the defendants would receive in federal court before transferring them, and stated that they would be sentenced to probation if they entered pleas but that they would be incarcerated if they exercised their right to trial.