The opinion of the court was delivered by: Helen Gillmor Senior United States District Judge
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT NOLAN FERREIRA'S MOTION FOR A NEW TRIAL (DOC. 174)
A jury convicted Defendant Nolan Ferreira of conspiracy to process with the intent to distribute over fifty grams of methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). The Defendant was sentenced to 100 months imprisonment and 5 years of supervised release. It recently came to light that impeachment evidence regarding one of the Government's trial witnesses was not disclosed to the Defendant prior to trial. After conducting an in camera review of the impeachment evidence, the Government was ordered to disclose the documents to the Defendant.
Defendant now moves for a new trial pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 33(a). Defendant argues that the failure of the Government to disclose the impeachment evidence amounted to a constitutional violation pursuant to Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 86 (1963).
The failure of the Government to disclose the impeachment evidence to the Defendant prior to trial was a Brady violation. First, the undisclosed evidence was favorable to the Defendant because it is was evidence that could have been used to impeach a government witness. Second, the Government failed to disclose the information to the Defendant prior to trial, despite having a constitutional duty to do so. Third, the failure to disclose the impeachment evidence prejudiced the Defendant during trial because there is a reasonable probability that, had the evidence been disclosed, the result of the trial would have been different.
DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR A NEW TRIAL (Doc. 174) is GRANTED.
On November 8, 2007, the Grand Jury indicted the Defendant on two Counts related to conspiracy and the possession with the intent to distribute fifty grams or more of methamphetamine. (Indictment, Doc. 1).
On November 13, 2007, the Defendant pled not guilty to both Counts in the Indictment. (Minutes of Hearing, November 13, 2007, (Doc. 5).)
Between June 10, 2008 and June 20, 2008 a jury trial was conducted.
On June 12, 2008, Count II of the Indictment was dismissed with prejudice. (Minutes, June 12, 2008 (Doc. 107).)
On June 20, 2008, the Jury returned a verdict of guilty as to Count I of the Indictment. (Special Jury Verdict, June 20, 2008 (Doc. 120).)
On November 3, 2008, the Defendant was sentenced to 100 months imprisonment and five years of supervised release. (Minutes, November 3, 2008 (Doc. 141).) Judgment was filed on November 10, 2008. (Judgment, November 10, 2008 (Doc. 144).)
On July 28, 2010, the Government was ordered to disclose to the Defendant two memoranda pertaining to an investigation of Special Agent Gerald Lawson, one of the Government's witnesses at trial. (ORDER DIRECTING DISCLOSURE OF INVESTIGATION AND CERTAIN DOCUMENTS UNDER PROTECTIVE ORDER; AND PROTECTIVE ORDER, July 28, 2010 (Doc. 147).)
On June 8, 2011, the Defendant filed "DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR A NEW TRIAL" (Doc. 174).
On August 29, 2011, the Government filed "UNITED STATES' OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR A NEW TRIAL" (Doc. 177).
On September 30, 2011, the Defendant filed "DEFENDANT'S REPLY TO THE GOVERNMENT'S MEMORANDUM IN OPPOSITION TO HIS MOTION FOR A NEW TRIAL" (Doc. 178).
Pursuant to Local Rule 7.2(d) the Court elected to decide the motion without a hearing.
Defendant Nolan Ferreira was arrested while attempting to sell methamphetamine to Neil Patrick Iida ("Iida") in the summer of 2005. Following a ten-day jury trial, in which the Defendant relied on an entrapment defense, the Defendant was convicted of conspiracy to process with the intent to distribute over fifty grams of methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). (Judgment, June 20, 2008 (Doc. 144).) Defendant was sentenced to 100 months imprisonment and 5 years of supervised release. (Id.)
Special Agent Gerald Lawson of the Drug Enforcement Administration ("D.E.A.") arrested Iida on March 9, 2005 for possession of methamphetamine. At that time, Iida agreed to cooperate with the D.E.A. by notifying S.A. Lawson if he came across anyone trying to sell multiple ounces of methamphetamine. In August of 2005, Iida contacted S.A. Lawson and said the Defendant was offering to sell Iida methamphetamine.
On August 18, 2005, S.A. Lawson arranged to have Iida contact the Defendant by telephone to arrange for a time to purchase the drugs at a later date. Two phone calls were exchanged between Iida and the Defendant. S.A. Lawson recorded the conversations.
On September 6, 2005 and September 7, 2005, Iida exchanged several phone calls with the Defendant to negotiate the exchange of methamphetamine. ...