United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT'S
MOTION TO SUPPRESS EVIDENCE AND STATEMENTS;
DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO COMPEL DISCLOSURE
OF THE GRAND JURY PROCEEDINGS AND GRAND JURY
RUDOLPH CONTRERAS United States District Judge.
Tyrone Wright is charged with three counts of bank robbery in
violation of Title 18, U.S.C. § 2113(a). The Government
alleges that Mr. Wright committed three bank robberies over a
two-day period-a Premier Bank, twice, and a TD Bank, once.
Mr. Wright moves for assorted information about the grand
jury proceeding that resulted in the indictment. See
Mot. Compel Disc. Disclosure Grand Jury Pro. & Grand Jury
Trs., ECF No. 8 (Def.'s Mot. Compel). The Government has
opposed this motion. See Gov.'s Opp'n
Def.'s Mot. Compel Disc. Disclosure Grand Jury Pro. &
Grand Jury Trs., ECF No. 11 (Opp'n Compel). Mr. Wright
has not replied to the Government's opposition, and given
that the time permitted for a reply by the Local Rules has
now passed, the matter is ripe for resolution by this Court.
See LCrR 47(d) (requiring that a reply memorandum be
filed within seven days of the service of the memorandum in
following reasons, the Court denies Mr. Wright's motion
to compel production. Although the Court does not decide the
entirety of Mr. Wright's separate motion to suppress
evidence and statements, ECF No. 7, and its supplement, ECF
No. 28, the Court does deny Mr. Wright's request for
subpoenas embedded in his motion to suppress.
initial indictment was filed on April 26, 2016, charging Mr.
Wright with one count of bank robbery in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 2231(a). 1st Indictment, ECF No. 3. That
indictment described a robbery from a Premier Bank on April
20, 2016, and read that Mr. Wright “by force, violence
and intimidation did attempt to take from the person
and presence of another, money . . .” 1st Indictment
(emphasis added). Several months later, on July 21, 2016, a
superseding indictment was filed charging Mr. Wright with
three counts of bank robbery. 2d Indictment, ECF No. 9. The
superseding indictment included the April 20, 2016 robbery of
the Premier Bank, and also included a robbery of the Premier
Bank and a TD bank on April 21, 2016. 2d Indictment. The
language of the superseding indictment stated that Mr. Wright
“by force, violence and intimidation did take
from the person and presence of another, money . . .”
for each count. 2d Indictment (emphasis added).
Motion to Compel Disclosure
Wright seeks several disclosures of information related to
the grand jury process that indicted him. He requests the
date the grand jury was discharged, the grand jury
transcript, “including the concurrence form but
excluding deliberation session, ” and for the court to
“consider dismissal of [the] indictment due to
selective and vindictive prosecution” if the Government
“cannot provide above information or documents.”
Def.'s Mot. Compel at 4-5.
the Government has indicated that it has already provided,
subject to a protective order, grand jury disclosures to Mr.
Wright. The Government indicates that it provided the
transcript of the FBI special agent and an officer without
any redactions. 2d Discovery Letter, ECF No. 26-1. The
Government also provided grand jury transcripts of two bank
tellers with their names and dates of birth redacted. 2d
Discovery Letter. The Government also provided grand jury
transcripts of another witness with the name, date of birth,
position, and branch location of the witness redacted. 1st
Discovery Letter. The Government also provided grand jury
exhibits with the same personal information redacted. 1st
Discovery Letter. Because the Government has already provided
extensive discovery about the grand jury in this case, the
Court finds it likely that Mr. Wright's request for grand
jury information is moot.
an abundance of caution, the Court considers Mr. Wright's
request to the extent that it seeks information not yet
disclosed by the Government. Although grand jury proceedings
are usually kept secret, “[t]he court may authorize
disclosure . . . at the request of a defendant who shows that
a ground may exist to dismiss the indictment because of a
matter that occurred before the grand jury.” Fed. R.
Crim. Pro. 6(e)(3)(E). In this circuit, a defendant must show
a “particularized need” for disclosure.
United States v. Naegele, 474 F.Supp.2d 9, 10
(D.D.C. 2007). See also Ridings v. Dep't of
Justice, 38 Fed.App'x 20, 21, 2002 WL 1359490, *1
(D.C. Cir. 2002) (per curiam) (holding that the
defendant's request for disclosure “fails because
[the defendant] did not make a ‘showing of
particularized need' for disclosure of the grand jury
transcripts” (internal citations omitted)). This
particularized need requires a “factual basis”-
“conclusory or speculative allegations of
misconduct” do not suffice. Naegele, 474
F.Supp.2d at 10. The threshold for such a showing is very
demanding, and the disclosure of grand jury information is
“exceedingly rare.” United States v.
Naegele, 474 F.Supp.2d 9, 11 (D.D.C. 2007). The court in
Naegele found such a rare circumstance existed when
the defendant could identify an exhibit which was presented
to the grand jury with particular pages missing. Id.
support of his need for disclosure, Mr. Wright points to
three “flaws” in the indictment. Before
addressing these flaws, the Court considers the effect of the
superseding indictment. Mr. Wright's motion was filed on
July 20, 2016, Def.'s Mot. Compel, and thus refers to
flaws in the initial indictment, 1st Indictment, ECF No. 3.
The superseding indictment was filed on July 21, 2016-the day
after Mr. Wright's motion. 2d Indictment, ECF No. 9. Mr.
Wright has not renewed or updated his motion since the
superseding indictment was filed, and Mr. Wright's
concerns are thus moot to the extent that they are corrected
in the superseding indictment. However, keeping in mind
pro se filings are “held to ‘less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers,
'” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106
(1976)), the Court addresses Mr. Wright's concerns to the
extent that they also apply to the superseding
indictment. The Court thus turns to Mr. Wright's
three objections to the indictment.
Mr. Wright notes that the face of the indictment states that
the grand jury was sworn in on May 5, 2015. Def.'s Mot.
Compel at 2. See 1st Indictment. The superseding
indictment also states that the grand jury was sworn in on
May 5. 2015. 2d Indictment. According to Mr. Wright,
“traditionally [the] grand jury [is] sworn . . . after
[the] offense date of [the] allege[d] crime.”
Def.'s Mot. Compel at 2. However, this is not correct.
The Court agrees with the Government, which notes that grand
juries generally serve eighteen-month terms. Opp'n Compel
¶ 5; see also Fed. R. Crim. Pro. 6(g) (“A
grand jury must serve until the court discharges it, but it
may serve more than 18 months only if the court, having
determined that an extension is in the public interest,
extends the grand jury's service.”). The grand jury
at issue here was sworn in in May of 2015. Eighteen months
after May 2015 runs until November of 2016. It thus is
completely logical that the same grand jury that was sworn in
during May of 2015 could issue indictments in April of 2016
(when the first indictment in this case was issued), and in
July of 2016 (when the superseding indictment in this case
was issued). The Court thus concludes that the date it was
sworn in is not a flaw that shows a particularized need for
disclosures about the grand jury process or justifies
dismissing the indictment.
Mr. Wright challenges the indictment for stating that the
defendant “did attempt to take . . . money” in
Count 1. Def.'s Mot. Compel at 2-3. According to Mr.
Wright, the language of “attempt” contradicts the
forfeiture allegation. Def.'s Mot. Compel at 2-3.
However, even if this was a problem, the superseding
indictment removes the attempt language. The superseding
indictment states for each of the three counts that the
defendant “did take . . . money.” 2d Indictment.
The Court finds that this objection is moot because the
superseding indictment would correct any issue with the
attempt language. See, e.g., United States v.
Wilson, 26 F.3d 142, 152 (D.C. Cir. 1994) (supporting
the view that a prosecutor may “seek a superseding
indictment in order to cure procedural defects of the first
one”); United States v. Kanchanalak, 37
F.Supp.2d 1, 3 (D.D.C. ...