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UNITED STATES v. DURAN

March 10, 1995

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
FRANCISCO MARTIN DURAN, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CHARLES R. RICHEY

 INTRODUCTION

 Before the Court are the Defendant's Motion to Bifurcate Trial and the Government's Opposition thereto. The Court held a hearing on said Motion on February 27, 1995. Upon careful consideration of the parties' briefs, the oral argument of counsel, and the entire record herein, the Court finds that the Defendant's Motion to Bifurcate Trial shall be denied.

 In his Motion, the Defendant requests that the Court bifurcate the trial such that (1) the jury first decides whether the prosecution has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he committed the charged offenses; and (2) if the jury finds that he committed any offense, that the jury then decide whether he has proved by clear and convincing evidence that, at the time of the offense, he was unable to appreciate the nature and quality or wrongfulness of his acts because of a severe mental illness or defect. The Defendant further requests that the Court impanel two juries, one to hear the trial on the merits, and the other to hear the insanity defense. In the alternative, the Defendant requests that the single jury selected to hear his case not be instructed on insanity or advised that the Defendant may raise the defense unless and until the jury decides whether the Defendant committed any of the charged offenses. The Court denies both requests.

 DISCUSSION

 I. THE COURT FINDS NO MERIT TO THE DEFENDANT'S ARGUMENT THAT TWO JURIES SHOULD BE IMPANELED IN THIS CASE

 As a preliminary matter, the Court finds no support for the Defendant's assertion that two juries should be impaneled in this case. The Defendant argues that he will be severely prejudiced in appearing before jurors who have just rendered a not guilty verdict, and asking them to change their verdict to not guilty by reason of insanity. Motion at 12.

 In response, the Government observes that the Defendant cites no legal authority to support his request for separate juries. The Court must agree. The Defendant relies solely upon United States v. Taylor, 167 U.S. App. D.C. 62, 510 F.2d 1283, 1289 (D.C. Cir. 1975), which, as Judge Leventhal observed in denying a petition for rehearing en banc, "did not hold that a different jury was required at the first trial" but, rather, involved a "combination of factors never likely to recur " which "led the division to conclude that the insanity issue should be retried." United States v. Taylor, 516 U.S. 1243, 1244 (D.C. Cir. 1975) (emphasis added). Thus, Taylor is limited to its facts and offers little guidance here.

 Here, the Court finds that the use of two juries is wholly unnecessary and likely to entail a huge expenditure of resources. For example, while the actual selection of two juries would no doubt require considerable time and expense by the parties and the Court, the evidence presented before both juries would likely overlap, as it would be impossible to leave the second jury to deliberate without any knowledge of what occurred during the trial on the merits. Moreover, two juries could reach inconsistent conclusions on the issue of intent. Accordingly, the Defendant's request for two juries is denied. See Parman v. United States, 130 U.S. App. D.C. 188, 399 F.2d 559, 563 (D.C. Cir. 1968) (no legal right to two juries so no abuse of discretion in denying the same), cert. denied, 393 U.S. 858, 21 L. Ed. 2d 126, 89 S. Ct. 109 (1968).

 II. THE COURT FURTHER DECLINES TO BIFURCATE THE TRIAL SUCH THAT THE SINGLE JURY WOULD DECIDE THE MERITS BEFORE HEARING ANY EVIDENCE ON THE DEFENSE OF INSANITY

 The seminal question before the Court is thus whether the Defendant has met his burden of showing that bifurcation of the trial is necessary, such that the single jury would first decide the merits without having heard any reference to the insanity defense and, if called for, decide the question of insanity thereafter. See Higgins v. United States, 130 U.S. App. D.C. 331, 401 F.2d 396, 398 (D.C. Cir. 1968) (burden on the defendant to demonstrate the need for bifurcation).

 The parties agree that bifurcation is proper only when a defendant shows that he or she has a substantial insanity defense and a substantial defense on the merits and both defenses cannot be presented in the same proceeding without prejudice to either defense. United States v. Bennett, 148 U.S. App. D.C. 364, 460 F.2d 872, 878 (D.C. Cir. 1972); Washington v. United States, 136 U.S. App. D.C. 54, 419 F.2d 636, 638 (D.C. Cir. 1969); Contee v. United States, 133 U.S. App. D.C. 261, 410 F.2d 249, 250 (D.C. Cir. 1969); Higgins, 401 F.2d at 398; Holmes v. United States, 124 U.S. App. D.C. 152, 363 F.2d 281, 283 (D.C. Cir. 1966). Under no circumstances, however, is a bifurcated trial constitutionally or statutorily *fn1" mandated. See Spencer v. State of Texas, 385 U.S. 554, 567, 17 L. Ed. 2d 606, 87 S. Ct. 648 (1967) ("Two-part jury trials are rare in our jurisprudence; they have never been compelled by this Court as a matter of constitutional law, or even as a matter of federal procedure."); Noggle v.Marshall, 706 F.2d 1408, 1416 (D.C. Cir.), cert. denied, 464 U.S. 1010, 104 S. Ct. 530, 78 L. Ed. 2d 712 (1983); United States v. Huff, 409 F.2d 1225, 1228 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 396 U.S. 857, 24 L. Ed. 2d 108, 90 S. Ct. 123 (1969); Garrison v. Patterson, 405 F.2d 696, 697 (10th Cir. 1969), cert. denied, 404 U.S. 880, 30 L. Ed. 2d 160, 92 S. Ct. 212 (1971); Murphy v. Florida, 495 F.2d 553, 557 (5th Cir. 1974), aff'd, 421 U.S. 794, 44 L. Ed. 2d 589, 95 S. Ct. 2031 (1975); United States v. Anderson, 391 F. Supp. 174, 179 (D. Del. 1975). Rather, the decision to bifurcate lies within the broad discretion of the trial judge. *fn2" United States v. Greene, 160 U.S. App. D.C. 21, 489 F.2d 1145, 1156-57 (D.C. Cir. 1973), cert. denied, 419 U.S. 977, 42 L. Ed. 2d 190, 95 S. Ct. 239 (1974); Higgins, 401 F.2d at 398; Bennett, 460 F.2d at 872; Holmes, 363 F.2d at 283; Parman, 399 F.2d at 560. It is in the exercise of its broad discretion that this Court, based on the entire record herein, finds that bifurcation is not warranted in the instant case.

 A. The Court cannot find that the Defendant has demonstrated a substantial defense on the merits and a substantial insanity defense.

 The Court must make a threshold determination as to whether the Defendant has substantial defenses both on the merits and on the issue of insanity, either of which would be prejudiced by simultaneous presentation with the other. In general, the Defendant asserts that he has a substantial defense on the merits of the attempted assassination charge, as the Government must prove specific intent to kill the President. He also asserts that he has a substantial factual defense to the charges that he assaulted the Secret Service agents and to the related firearm charges. Finally, the Defendant ...


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