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United States v. McCoy

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

May 15, 2018

ISAIAH McCOY, aka “Isiah McCoy” and “Zeus;” and TAWANA ROBERTS Defendants.




         Defendant Isaiah McCoy moves to dismiss the First Superseding Indictment, asserting selective prosecution, vindictive prosecution, and the interests of justice. McCoy, however, fails to articulate sufficient facts supporting these assertions, instead saying he is “willing to outline [his] reasons” in an ex parte communication. That is not how the justice system works. McCoy is not entitled to dismissal of the indictment based on a secret, one-sided communication. Nor is McCoy entitled to present witnesses at a hearing without giving at least some indication of the basis of his motion. Under these circumstances, the court denies McCoy's motion without holding an evidentiary hearing.


         McCoy and Tawana Roberts are charged in the First Superseding Indictment with sex trafficking by force, threats, fraud, or coercion, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1591(a)(1) and (b)(1) and 18 U.S.C. § 2. See ECF No. 46.

         On February 27, 2018, McCoy moved for dismissal of the First Superseding Indictment.[1] That motion states in its entirety:

Comes now defendant Isaiah W. McCoy pro [se] and respectfully moves this court to dismiss the current charges against Defendants Isaiah W. McCoy (1) and Tawana L. Roberts due to vindictive and selective prosecution and also in the interest of justice. In support defend[ant] will offer overwhelming evidence at the hearing on this matter. Defend[ant] will require several prose[c]utors and law enforcement [officers] to testify.

         ECF No. 75, PageID # 266.

         On February 28, 2018, this court informed McCoy that it “requires a fuller statement from Mr. McCoy about the bases for his motion. No later than March 9, 2018, he must file a written explanation for his claim that he is being selectively and vindictively prosecuted. It is not sufficient for him to simply make that claim without any supporting explanation as to the basis for that claim.” ECF No. 76.

         On March 6, 2018, McCoy responded, but did not provide a “fuller statement . . . about the bases for his motion.” Instead, McCoy merely stated, “I am willing to fully outline my reasons, evidence, etc. for my motion to dismiss in a[n] ex parte hearing for ta[c]tical and strategic reasons.” ECF No. 90, PageID # 399. McCoy stated that the decision to prosecute him and Roberts was “based on unjustifiable classifications” and averred that similarly situated individuals were not prosecuted. Id. McCoy describes himself as the 147th person with a death sentence to have been exonerated, implying that the current charges were brought by vindictive prosecutors unhappy that, in a different case, he escaped the death penalty. Id., PageID # 310. In his motion for pretrial release, McCoy noted that the Delaware Supreme Court had overturned his 2015 murder conviction and the resulting death sentence based on prosecutorial misconduct and a violation of Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 1 (1986).

         III. ANALYSIS.

         A. The Court Denies the Motion Without Holding an Evidentiary Hearing.

         Although this court held a hearing on the present motion, it did not conduct an evidentiary hearing, as McCoy did not in his moving papers present enough detail to warrant an evidentiary hearing. See United States v. Jordan, 635 F.3d 1181, 1188 (11th Cir. 2011) (“to obtain an evidentiary hearing on a selective prosecution claim, the defendant must present facts sufficient to create a reasonable doubt about the constitutionality of a prosecution.” (quotation marks and citation omitted)); United States v. Irwin, 612 F.2d 1182, 1187 (9th Cir. 1980) (evidentiary hearing required with respect to prosecutorial misconduct claim when a material issue of fact is raised which, if resolved in a defendant's favor, would entitle the defendant to relief). Even if this court assumes for purposes of addressing McCoy's motion to dismiss that all facts specifically alleged in the motion and accompanying papers are true, the court concludes that he is not entitled to the relief he seeks.

         A moving party's allegations must be sufficiently definite, specific, detailed, and nonconjectural, to enable the court to conclude that a substantial claim is presented.” United States v. Packwood, 848 F.2d 1009, 1010 (9th Cir. 1988) (quotation marks and citation omitted). McCoy's motion depends on conclusory assertions, which are insufficient to require a hearing. See Id. (“General or conclusory factual allegations are not enough to require a hearing, but where sworn statements and exhibits present directly contradictory accounts of events, a hearing is required.” (quotation marks and citation omitted)). If this court need not hold a hearing when faced with only conclusory assertions, it follows that this court need not treat those conclusory assertions as necessarily true. McCoy's conclusions do not put the Government on notice of what ...

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