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United States v. Lawrence

United States District Court, D. Nevada

February 16, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Plaintiff/Appellee,
v.
JOHNNY MADRID LAWRENCE, Defendant/Appellant.

          ORDER

          MIRANDA M. DU UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. SUMMARY

         This case involves an appeal of the Magistrate Judge's judgment finding Appellant Johnny Lawrence guilty of disorderly conduct in violation of 41 C.F.R. § 102-74.390. (ECF No. 2 at 1.) The Court has reviewed Lawrence's opening brief (ECF No. 12), the government's answering brief (ECF No. 18), and Lawrence's reply (ECF No. 21). The Court finds that the Magistrate Judge did not err and affirms the conviction.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Lawrence received a citation for violating 41 C.F.R. § 102-74.390 after he told a Social Security Administration (“SSA”) employee, “I'm going to fuck you up and then get the fuck out of Reno, ” during an appointment at an SSA office in Reno. (ECF No. 18 at 8.) 41 C.F.R. § 102-74.390 prohibits “[a]ll persons entering in or on Federal property . . . from . . . exhibiting disorderly conduct.”

         Shortly after the incident occurred, a security officer who had not personally observed the conflict issued a citation to Lawrence (completed by hand) that contained several fields. (ECF No. 18 at 8; see also ECF No. 13 at 279.) In the field titled “Offense Charged, ” the citing officer wrote “41 C.F.R. 102-74.390.” (ECF No. 12 at 4; see also ECF No. 13 at 279.) That field is followed by a larger field titled “Offense Description; Factual Basis for Charge” in which the citing officer wrote “Disorderly Conduct.” (ECF No. 12 at 4; see also ECF No. 13 at 279.) The citation itself does not contain a factual description of Lawrence's purported disorderly conduct.

         The citing officer prepared a type-written probable cause statement in connection with the incident. (ECF No. 18 at 9.) The statement indicates that it is based on the citing officer's personal investigation as opposed to personal observation. (ECF No. 13 at 281.) It states:

I responded to the Social Security Administration (SSA)[ ]office in Reno to investigate an alleged verbal threat made to one of the SSA employees at the facility. Upon my arrival, I saw Federal Protective Service (FPS) contract guard Timothy Reynolds standing outside the building next to the SSA claimant who allegedly had made the verbal threat. The claimant was later identified as Johnny Madrid LAWRENCE.
According to SSA employee Erica Brandt Kertanis, when she explained to LAWRENCE he could not be the SSA Payee for his alleged “soon to be wife” (not present at the SSA facility), LAWRENCE got closer to her customer service window (Window 2) and told her, “I AM GOING TO FUCK YOU UP AND THEN GET THE FUCK OUT OF RENO.” LAWRENCE's threatening statement was witnessed by SSA employee Cindy Lopez who stated she heard Kertanis tell SSA claimant LAWRENCE to calm down or he will need to leave. Lopez added that LAWRENCE suddenly started threatening Kertanis by stating that he was “GOING TO FUCK HER UP AND THEN GET OUT OF RENO.”
LAWRENCE's inappropriate and threatening conduct interrupted the performance of SSA employees Kertanis and Lopez and disrupted normal operations at the facility. Therefore, generating FPS response and the response of the FPS contract guard at the facility.
Based on the Sworn Written Statements provide[d] by SSA employees Kertanis and Lopez, I cited LAWRENCE for Disorderly Conduct in violation of the Rules and Regulations Governing Conduct on Federal Property in specific, 41 CFR 102-74.3[9]0, Disturbances.

(Id.)

         Lawrence filed two motions to dismiss before trial. In the first, Lawrence argued that the citation was inadequate under Fed. R. Crim. P. 7(c)(1) and “due process standards” because it did not contain any facts or identify the elements of the violation. (ECF No. 2 at 56.) Lawrence further argued that the provision of 41 C.F.R. § 102-74.390 making it unlawful to “exhibit[] disorderly conduct” is overbroad and void for vagueness, both on its face and as applied. (Id. at 58.) The Magistrate Judge rejected these arguments and denied the motion. (ECF No. 6 at 37.) In the second, Lawrence argued that the citation violated his Fourth Amendment rights because the citing officer was not actually present for the altercation. (ECF No. 2 at 45.) The Magistrate Judge rejected this argument and denied the motion. (ECF No. 6 at 23.)

         Lawrence was ultimately found guilty of disorderly conduct and sentenced to 360 days of probation. (ECF No. 12 at 7 (citing ECF No. 13 at 7).) Lawrence ...


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