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United States of America v. Jeannie Sutherland

July 13, 2011

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JEANNIE SUTHERLAND, ET. AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lloyd D. George United States District Judge

ORDER

Before the court is the defendant Jeannie Sutherland's Motion for a Bill of Particulars (#51) and Motion to Compel Production of Nancy Martinez's Handwriting Exemplar (#57). Sutherland seeks a Bill of Particulars from the Government providing specific answers to each of seven questions. For the reasons discussed, the court denies these outstanding motions.

Background

On July 7, 2010, a grand jury returned a two-count indictment charging Sutherland, and co-defendants Williams and Winget, with one count of Conspiracy to Commit Mail, Wire, and Bank Fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349, and one count of Bank Fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344 (#18). The charges arise from the sale of a home at 2897 S. Buffalo Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada. Sutherland was the sellers' agent, and Williams was the agent for the buyer. Sutherland filed the instant Motion for a Bill of Particulars on December 3, 2010. On December 8, 2010, the grand jury returned a Superseding Indictment adding defendants Nunes and Toren and an additional count of Bank Fraud in connection with the sale of a home located at 11523 Noors Avenue, Las Vegas, Nevada. Sutherland again acted as the sellers' agent, and Williams again acted as the buyer's agent in this sale.

Discussion

Bill of Particulars

Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 7(f) provides that a court may order the Government to file a Bill of Particulars. The court has the discretion to grant the request for a Bill of United States v. Long, 706 F.2d 1044, 1054 (9th Cir. 1983). A Bill of Particulars serves three purposes: (1) to inform the defendant of the nature of the charges against him with sufficient precision to enable him to prepare for trial; (2) to avoid or minimize the danger of surprise at the time of trial; and (3) to protect against double jeopardy. United States v. Giese, 597 F.2d 1170, 1180 (9th Cir. 1979). An indictment charging conspiracy is sufficiently clear if it alleges the agreement, the object which the agreement targets and an overt action in furtherance of the conspiracy. Geise, 597 F.2d at 1177. The Government is not required to disclose all overt acts in the furtherance of a conspiracy. Id. at 1180.

The Indictment (#60) charges Sutherland with Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, Mail Fraud, and Bank Fraud, and two separate counts of Bank Fraud and Aiding and Abetting. The Indictment states the defendants did knowingly and intentionally combine, conspire, and agree with others to commit the offenses of Wire Fraud, Mail Fraud, and Bank Fraud. #60 at 3. The Indictment lists two properties which were the alleged objects of the conspiracy. Id. at 5-6. The Indictment lists several alleged actions which qualify as overt actions in furtherance of the conspiracy. The Indictment defines and states the elements necessary for conviction ...


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