United States District Court, D. Arizona
G, Campbell -Senior United States District Judge
Loren Joel McReynolds has filed a motion under Federal Rule
of Criminal Procedure 14 to sever Counts 2, 3, and 4 for
trial. Doc. 26. The government has responded (Doc. 27), and
Defendant has not filed a reply.
states that “[i]f the joinder of offenses or defendants
in an indictment . . . appears to prejudice a defendant or
the government, the court may order separate trials of
counts, sever the defendants' trials, or provide any
other relief that justice requires.” Fed. R. Crim. P.
14(a). “The granting or denial of a severance trial
under [Rule] 14 is a matter within the trial court's
discretion.” United States v. Doe, 655 F.2d
920, 926 (9th Cir. 1980). Defendant correctly notes that the
test is whether joinder is “so manifestly prejudicial
that it outweighs the dominant concern with judicial economy
and compels the exercise of the court's discretion to
sever.” United States v. Kinslow, 860 F.2d
963, 966-67 (9th Cir. 1988).
argues that photographs of a dead burro to be admitted in
support of Count 2 will prejudice his defense to Count 5
(illegal shooting of a deer) and Count 6 (illegal taking of
antlers). As the government notes, however, the jury will see
similar photographs in support of Count 5, showing Defendant
posing with a dead deer after he killed it. The Court cannot
conclude that additional photos of the burro would be
manifestly prejudicial, particularly if the Court instructs
the jury carefully. The Court also agrees with the
government's assertion that evidence of the burro
shooting would likely be admissible under Rule 404(b) even if
the charges were severed, to show Defendant's knowledge,
intent, and lack of mistake in the poaching the deer and
antlers charged in Counts 5 and 6. Severance thus would not
eliminate the prejudice Defendant asserts.
argues that a photograph of him shooting a Remington rifle at
a burro in connection with Counts 2-4 will prejudice his
defense to Count 1, which charges him with possessing an
AR-15 rifle as a convicted felon. The Court again concludes
that clear instruction of the jury can eliminate any such
prejudice. In addition, possession of the Remington rifle
likely would be admissible after severance to show
Defendant's knowledge, intent, and lack of mistake in
possessing the AR-15. See United States v. Jernigan,
341 F.3d 1273, 1281 (11th Cir. 2003) (noting a “logical
connection between a convicted felon's knowing possession
of a firearm at one time and his knowledge that a firearm is
present at a subsequent time (or, put differently, that his
possession at the subsequent time is not mistaken or
accidental), ” citing cases).
expresses concern about admission of a “gruesome”
video related to the burro poaching, but the Court has not
concluded that the entire video is admissible. If Defendant
believes that portions of the video are inadmissible under
Rule 403, he may make that assertion and the Court will rule.
The Court notes that it has difficulty seeing why portions of
the video showing Defendant cutting an arrowhead out of a
burro would be relevant to charges in this case.
Defendant argues that Counts 2-4 are distinct and separate
from the remaining charges in this case. The Court does not
agree. The government asserts that Defendant engaged in a
years-long series of events that violated federal game and
gun laws as part of his guiding business. Events in Counts
2-4 led to warrants that produced some of the evidence
admissible on other counts. The Court concludes that the
government should be permitted to present the entire series
of events to the jury. If Defendant is concerned about
evidence on one count prejudicing his defense on other
counts, he may request appropriate jury instructions.
brings his motion under Rule 14, but the Court notes that the
standards of Rule 8 are also relevant. Rule 8 provides for
joinder of two or more offenses that (1) are of similar
character, (2) based on the same act or transaction, or (3)
constitute part of a common scheme or plan. Fed. R. Crim. P.
8(a). Generally, “[w]hen the joined counts are
logically related, and there is a large area of overlapping
proof, joinder is appropriate.” United States v.
Anderson, 642 F.2d 281, 284 (9th Cir. 1981); see
also United States v. Blatchford, No.
CR-16-08085-001-PCT-GMS, 2017 WL 2484182, at *1 (D. Ariz.
June 7, 2017). The Court concludes that the counts in this
case are similar in character, are alleged to constitute a
common plan or scheme, are logically related, and involve
has not shown that trial of all counts together, with
appropriate jury instructions and Rule 403 rulings, will be
so manifestly prejudicial that it outweighs the dominant
concern with judicial economy” and the government's
interest in presenting the case as charged. Kinslow,
860 F.2d at 966-67. Defendant may propose any jury
instructions he believes will mitigate prejudice from the
trial of all charges.
IS ORDERED that Defendant's motion for a
separate trial on Counts ...