United States District Court, D. Hawaii
For Naeem J. Williams, Defendant: Barry D. Edwards, LEAD ATTORNEY, Kaneohe, HI; John Timothy Philipsborn, LEAD ATTORNEY, San Francisco, CA; Michael N. Burt, LEAD ATTORNEY, Law Office of Michael Burt, San Francisco, CA.
For Delilah S. Williams, Defendant: Alexander Silvert, Peter C. Wolff, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Office of the Federal Public Defender, Honolulu, HI; Judy Clarke, LEAD ATTORNEY, Federal Defenders of Eastern Washington & Idaho, Spokane, WA.
For USA, Plaintiff: Steven D. Mellin, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Washington, DC; Darren W.K. Ching, Office of the United States Attorney, Honolulu, HI.
ORDER REGARDING SUFFICIENCY OF COUNT ONE OF THE SECOND SUPERCEDING INDICTMENT, RAISED IN DEFENDANT'S MARCH 18, 2014 TRIAL MEMORANDUM, DOC. NO. 2452
J. Michael Seabright, United States District Judge.
In this capital murder case, Defendant Naeem Williams filed a Trial Memorandum on March 18, 2014, objecting to certain testimony of Dr. Sharon Cooper and Dr. Kanthi De Alwis, who are proposed government expert witnesses. Doc. No. 2452. Defendant's Trial Memorandum, however, does more than challenge expert testimony -- it raises a more fundamental issue, challenging the sufficiency of Count One of the Second Superceding Indictment (the " Indictment" ). The court denied that legal challenge in open court on March 20, 2014. This Order explains the court's reasons for rejecting Defendant's argument,
and for upholding the sufficiency of the Indictment.
A. The Indictment and Corresponding Statutory Provisions
Among other Counts, the Indictment charges Defendant with two capital-eligible Counts of felony murder arising out of Defendant's role in allegedly killing his five-year-old daughter. Specifically, Count One charges Defendant with first degree felony murder, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § § 7 & 1111, as follows:
On or about July 16, 2005 . . . the defendant NAEEM J. WILLIAMS, with malice aforethought, did unlawfully kill Talia Williams, a " child," in the perpetration of " child abuse," as those terms are defined by Title 18 United States Code, Section 1111(c).
All in violation of Title 18, United States Code, sections 7(3) and 1111(a) & (b).
Doc. No. 1004, Indictment at 2. Count Two charges Defendant with first degree felony murder, and aiding and abetting first degree felony murder, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § § 7 & 1111, as follows:
From beginning on a date unknown to the Grand Jury, but at some time after December 13, 2004, and culminating in the death of Talia Williams on July 16, 2005 . . . the defendant NAEEM J. WILLIAMS and Delilah Williams (who is not a defendant in this Second Superceding Indictment) with malice aforethought, did unlawfully kill, and did aid and abet each other in the killing of Talia Williams, a " child," in the perpetration of part of a " pattern and practice of assault and torture" against a " child," as those terms are defined by Title 18, United States Code, Section 1111(c).
All in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 2, 7(3) and 1111(a) & (b).
Id. at 3.
Thus, the Indictment charges two violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1111, which provides, in relevant part:
(a) Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought. Every murder perpetrated by poison, lying in wait, or any other kind of willful, deliberate, malicious, and premeditated killing; or committed in the perpetration of, or attempt to perpetrate, any arson, escape, murder, kidnapping, treason, espionage, sabotage, aggravated sexual abuse or sexual abuse, child abuse, burglary, or robbery; or perpetrated as part of a pattern or practice of assault or torture against a child or children; or perpetrated from a premeditated design unlawfully and maliciously to effect the death of any human being other than him who is killed, is murder in the first degree. [Emphases added] . . . .
(c) For purposes of this section --
. . . .
(2) the term " child" means a person who has not attained the age of 18 years ...