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United States v. Bunnell

United States District Court, D. Arizona

August 29, 2014

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Charles William Bunnell, Defendant.

ORDER

DAVID G. CAMPBELL, District Judge.

Defendant Charles Bunnell, who has elected to represent himself in this action, has filed several motions: a motion to dismiss the indictment (Doc. 46), a motion to suppress his prior arrest record (Doc. 47), a motion to exclude evidence from his hotel room and car (Doc. 48), a motion to dismiss Count I of the indictment (Doc. 49), and a motion to "exclude" (Doc. 64). The motions are fully briefed, and no party has requested oral argument. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will deny the motions.

Defendant has also filed a letter seeking advice on how he might file a lawsuit against the FBI. Doc. 68. He has also mailed a number of proposed subpoenas without using proper forms. The Court will address Defendant's letter and subpoena requests at the status hearing scheduled for September 2, 2014.

I. Motion to Exclude.

Defendant moves to "exclude" the government's responses to his motions, arguing that the responses are untimely "according to the rules of Motion, Response, and Reply." Doc. 64. Defendant served his motions on July 9, 2014. Local Rule of Criminal Procedure 12.1(a) looks to Local Rule of Civil Procedure 7.2(c) for matters concerning motions, and Rule 7.2(c) allows 14 days for a response. Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 45(c) granted the government three additional days because Defendant's motions were served in the manner provided under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 5(b)(2)(E).

The government thus had fourteen days to respond under Local Rule 7.2(c) and an additional three days under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 45(c). Under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 45(a), the day Defendant filed his motions is excluded from the computation, making the responses due on July 26, 2014. Because that day was a Saturday, Rule 45(a) gave the government an extension until Monday, July 28, 2014. The government timely filed its responses on July 23 (Doc. 50), July 24 (Doc. 51), and July 25, 2014 (Doc. 52).

II. Motions to Dismiss.

A. Relevant Facts.

The Indictment charges Defendant with attempt to commit sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1591(a), 1591(b)(1), and 1594(a), and attempt to engage in interstate kidnapping in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(1) and (d). Doc. 9. The government alleges that on January 25, 2014, Defendant arrived in Arizona to purchase a sex slave. At approximately 10 a.m., two undercover employees ("UCEs") had breakfast with Defendant. One of the UCEs inquired whether Defendant brought the drug Scopolamine to Arizona. Defendant replied that he had brought the drug with him and that he planned to administer it to the sex slave so that he would not have to restrain her on the drive back to California. Defendant explained that the drug is an extremely potent inhalant that takes away a person's willpower and ability to resist. He also explained that the drug can be extremely dangerous because it is possible to overdose.

Later, at the warehouse where Defendant believed his sex slave was being held, Defendant paid money to a UCE and was promptly arrested. While at the scene, FBI Special Agent ("SA") Ryan Blay informed Defendant that federal agents would be executing search warrants on his vehicle and hotel room and asked Defendant whether there was anything in either location that could harm them. Defendant indicated that there was a container of Scopolamine in the glove box of his vehicle. A search of the vehicle uncovered a Scopolamine applicator in the passenger compartment of the vehicle and a bottle of Scopolamine in the trunk. Federal agents also found restraints, zips ties, rope, a sex toy, bondage equipment, and a video camera in Defendant's suitcase.

B. Legal Standard.

For purposes of a motion to dismiss, allegations in the indictment must be taken as true. United States v. Renzi, 861 F.Supp.2d 1014, 1021 (D. Ariz. 2012). Arguments raised in a motion to dismiss that rely on disputed facts should be denied. United States v. Tawahongva, 456 F.Supp.2d 1120, 1125 (D. Ariz. 2006).

C. Motion to Dismiss Count I of the Indictment.

Defendant argues that he cannot be convicted of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking because it is factually impossible to conspire with a government agent. Doc. 49 at 1. Defendant's argument misses the mark, however, because he is not charged in Count I with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking; he is charged with attempted sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion. Doc. 9. To prove Defendant attempted to engage in trafficking, the government need not show that Defendant conspired with anyone. The government must prove that Defendant intended to commit the underlying offense and "took some ...


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