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United States v. Williams

United States District Court, E.D. Washington

March 31, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
HARRY ANTHONY WILLIAMS (1) and DERRICK BOGGESS (2), Defendants.

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS AND DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO

ROSANNA MALOUF PETERSON, Chief District Judge.

BEFORE THE COURT are two motions filed by Defendant Williams: a Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 39, and a Motion to Suppress Blood Test Results, ECF No. 42. The Court heard oral argument on the motions on March 18, 2015. Christian J. Phelps appeared on behalf of Defendant Harry Anthony Williams, who was also present. Assistant Federal Public Defender Amy H. Rubin appeared on behalf of Defendant Derrick Boggess, who was present. Assistant United States Attorney Caitlin A. Baunsgard represented the United States. The Court has reviewed both motions and all relevant filings, has considered the parties' arguments, and is fully informed.

BACKGROUND

A federal grand jury indicted Defendants Williams and Boggess on December 17, 2014, for one count each of involuntary manslaughter, for the death of Defendant Boggess's three-year-old daughter. ECF No. 1. The United States alleges that, on April 22, 2014, Defendant Williams drove a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, with Defendant Boggess and his daughter in the car as passengers. ECF No. 1 at 1-2. Defendant Williams allegedly drove the van "off the roadway, over an embankment." ECF No. 46-1 at 1. Defendant Boggess's daughter was not wearing a seatbelt, and she died at the scene. ECF No. 46 a 2.

The United States alleges that, when questioned at the scene, Defendant Williams admitted to having consumed one Four-Loko, a beverage containing alcohol and caffeine. ECF No. 46 at 2. Additionally, officers represent that they smelled "the strong odor of intoxicants" on Defendant Williams. ECF No. 46 at 2-3. Thereafter, officers obtained a tribal search warrant to retrieve a blood sample from Defendant Williams. ECF No. 42-1. Tests conducted on the blood sample showed that Defendant Williams had a blood alcohol content of 0.036, and that he had barbiturates, methamphetamines, and cannabinoids in his system. ECF No. 46 at 3.

Seven months prior to the federal indictment and one week after the accident, based on these same events, the Colville Confederated Tribes charged Defendant Williams with one count of vehicular homicide, and two counts of vehicular assault. ECF No. 46-1. Defendant Williams pleaded guilty to all three counts and was sentenced to 350 days per count to be served consecutively. ECF No. 46-5.

Defendant Williams now challenges this federal prosecution on the basis of double jeopardy and violation of the Department of Justice's internal Petite Policy. ECF No. 39. He also moves to suppress the blood test results on the basis that the search warrant used to obtain his blood sample did not explicitly authorize testing of the blood. ECF No. 42.

DISCUSSION

A. Motion to Dismiss

Defendant Williams argues that this federal prosecution violates the Department of Justice's internal Petite Policy, which bars a federal prosecution based on the same act or acts that supported a state or federal prosecution that was adjudicated on the merits. ECF No. 39; U.S.A.M. § 9-2.031. Defendant Williams also appears to be arguing that this prosecution violates the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment. See ECF No. 39 at 2, 13 (citing U.S. Const. amend. V).

Additionally, Defendant Williams argues that he is the victim of selective prosecution, contending that the United States is prosecuting him based on events for which he already has been prosecuted in tribal court, but that the Government does not similarly prosecute non-Indian defendants based on events for which they already have been prosecuted in state court. ECF No. 39 at 18-21. Defendant Williams moves the Court to dismiss the federal indictment in this case, or alternatively, to exclude any statements that he made in connection with his prosecution in tribal court and to require the Government to produce discovery regarding his selective prosecution claim.

The United States responds that the Petite policy only applies to prior state or federal prosecutions, not tribal prosecutions, ECF No. 46 at 7, that this prosecution does not violate the Double Jeopardy Clause and is consistent with Ninth Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court precedent, ECF No. 46 at 9, and that Mr. Williams has not presented any evidence of selective prosecution in this case, ECF No. 46 at 9-10. The United States also argues that Mr. Williams's statements made in connection with his tribal court prosecution are admissible as admissions by a party opponent and statements against interest under Federal Rules of Evidence 801(d)(2)(A) and 804(b)(3).

i. The Petite Policy and the Double Jeopardy Clause

The United States Attorneys' Manual "establishes guidelines for the exercise of discretion by appropriate officers... in determining whether to bring a federal prosecution based on substantially the same act(s) or transactions involved in a prior state or federal proceeding." U.S.A.M. § 9-2.031. The policy, termed the " Petite Policy, " is an internal Department of Justice policy that bars successive federal prosecutions based on the same or similar acts involved in a prior state or federal prosecution unless three conditions are satisfied: (1) the matter involves a substantial federal interest, (2) the prior prosecution left that interest "demonstrably unvindicated, " and (3) the government believes that the defendant's conduct constitutes a federal offense, and that evidence "probably will be sufficient to obtain and sustain a ...


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