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United States of America v. Ethan Motta (05

October 1, 2012

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
ETHAN MOTTA (05), DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Susan Oki Mollway Chief United States District Judge

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT ETHAN MOTTA'S DISCOVERY REQUESTS

(DOCKET NOS. 1360, 1375, 1379, 1383, AND 1386)

I. INTRODUCTION.

Defendant Ethan Motta has filed multiple motions seeking discovery to support his motions for a new trial. Because Motta fails to show any entitlement to such discovery, all of the discovery-related motions are denied.

II. BACKGROUND.

On March 20, 2009, a jury convicted Defendants Rodney Joseph, Jr., and Ethan Motta of Counts 1 (substantive RICO), 2 (RICO conspiracy), 3 (illegal gambling business), 6 (violent crime in aid of racketeering--murder of Lepo Taliese), 7 (violent crime in aid of racketeering--murder of Romelius Corpuz, Jr.), and 8 (violent crime in aid of racketeering--attempted murder of Tinoimalo Sao) of the Second Superseding Indictment. Joseph was also convicted of Count 4 (violent crime in aid of racketeering--assault with a dangerous weapon). See Verdict Forms, ECF No. 1090 and 1092. Motta and Joseph received life-in-prison sentences, as required by statute.

Motta and Joseph appealed. On January 10, 2012, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the judgments.

See Memorandum, ECF No. 1341.

In March 2012, Motta submitted three motions for a new trial. In the motion filed March 12, 2012, ECF No. 1345, Motta argues that he is entitled to a new trial because the Government failed to disclose impeachment and exculpatory evidence in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). Motta specifically argues that the Government failed to disclose gambling invoices and records that showed that its trial exhibits #2 to #13 were purchased at an irrelevant time. See ECF No. 1345. Joseph joined in this motion. See ECF No. 1349.

In a motion filed March 22, 2012, which Motta says he placed in the prison mail system on March 19, 2012, Motta argues that he is entitled to a new trial because: 1) the Government failed to disclose "a host of court records and criminal history reports reflecting the prior bad acts of numerous government witnesses," as well as a police detective; 2) the Government failed to disclose a 2008 death certificate for Peter Matautia, who later appeared and testified at trial; 3) the Government failed to disclose evidence concerning Jonnaven Monalim, George Cambra, Jr., Gatula Muasau, and Nixon Maumalanga; and 4) the Government failed to disclose evidence concerning its conclusion that a government informant had lied concerning bribery allegations of a state-court judge. See ECF No. 1350. In a minute order of March 23, 2012, the court deemed Joseph's earlier joinder to apply to this motion as well. See ECF No. 1352. Joseph then filed a joinder in the motion on June 6, 2012. See ECF No. 1391.

In a motion filed April 2, 2012, which Motta says he placed in the prison mail system on March 20, 2012, Motta argues that a new trial is warranted because the gambling paraphernalia introduced as evidence at trial was purchased after the end date of the gambling enterprise. See ECF No. 1358. Joseph did not join in this motion.

In connection with the motions for a new trial, Motta has filed five motions concerning discovery. See ECF Nos. 1360, 1375, 1379, 1383, and 1386. Joseph did not join in the discovery motions, which generally seek impeachment and exculpatory evidence concerning the various witnesses who testified at trial. All of these discovery-related motions are denied.

III. ANALYSIS.

There is no general constitutional right to discovery in criminal cases. Weatherford v. Bursey, 429 U.S. 545, 560 (1977). However, a criminal defendant has a due process right to receive from the Government any evidence that is favorable to the defendant that is material to guilt or punishment. In Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 87 (1963), the Supreme Court held that a prosecutor who suppresses evidence "favorable to an accused upon request violates due process where ...


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