United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR CHANGE OF
VENUE, ECF NO. 75, WITHOUT PREJUDICE
MICHAEL SEABRIGHT, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the court is Defendant Alexander Vanburn Cooper's
(“Defendant”) January 14, 2019 Motion for Change
of Venue Pursuant to Rule 21 of the Federal Rules of Criminal
Procedure (“Motion for Change of Venue”). ECF No.
75. Defendant asks the court to transfer this case to the
Central District of California, where Defendant resides. The
Government filed an Opposition on January 22, 2019, ECF. No.
80, and a hearing was held on January 29, 2019. Based on the
following, the court DENIES the Motion for Change of Venue.
court first outlines the legal framework applicable to
Defendant's Motion for Change of Venue, and then applies
it to the facts of this case.
Rule of Criminal Procedure 21(b) provides that “[u]pon
the defendant's motion, the court may transfer the
proceeding . . . against that defendant to another district
for the convenience of the parties, any victim, and the
witnesses, and in the interest of justice.” Fed. R.
Crim. P. 21(b).
burden is on the defendant to show that transfer should be
granted. See In re United States, 273 F.3d 380, 388
(3d Cir. 2001). With that said, however, “the defendant
is not required to show ‘truly compelling circumstances
for . . . change . . . [of venue, but rather that] all
relevant things considered, the case would be better off
transferred to another district.'” Id.
(quoting In re Balsimo, 68 F.3d 185, 187 (7th Cir.
1995) (alterations in original)). Whether to grant the motion
rests within “the sound discretion of the trial
court.” United States v. Testa, 548 F.2d 847,
856 (9th Cir. 1977).
exercising its discretion, the court should consider a number
of factors, including the: (1) location of the defendant; (2)
location of the possible witnesses; (3) location of the
events likely to be at issue; (4) location of relevant
documents and records; (5) potential for disruption of the
defendant's businesses if transfer is denied; (6)
expenses to be incurred by the parties if transfer is denied;
(7) location of defense counsel; (8) relative accessibility
of the place of trial; (9) docket conditions of each
potential district; and (10) any other special circumstance
that might bear on the desirability of transfer. See
Platt v. Minn. Mining & Mfg. Co., 376 U.S. 240,
243-44 (1964). Although the Ninth Circuit has not engaged
these factors in depth, other Circuits have explained that
none of these considerations is dispositive and that the
court must instead “try to strike a balance and
determine which factors are of greatest importance.”
United States v. Maldonado-Rivera, 922 F.2d 934, 966
(2nd Cir. 1990); see United States v. Morrison, 946
F.2d 484, 489 n.1 (7th Cir. 1991) (same). Some degree of
inconvenience is inevitable, and the court must consider both
the defendant's and the government's inconvenience.
Testa, 548 F.2d at 857.
parties address most, but not all, of the Platt
factors. The court likewise addresses the factors that appear
to be in dispute.
Location of the Defendant
resides in the Central District of California. Nonetheless,
with an estimated trial length of one week, the inconvenience
to the Defendant of a trial in Honolulu is not as great as
that caused by a lengthy trial.
addition to his residence in the Central District of
California, defense counsel points out that Defendant
suffered a stroke, and submitted a memorandum of a telephone
interview of Jamal Straughter regarding Defendant's
present mental capacity, along with medical records. Counsel
is concerned that communication with Defendant is made more