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United States v. Nobrega

United States District Court, D. Maine

July 11, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
DOMINGÓS NÓBREGA

ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTIONS FOR NEW TRIAL AND NEW SENTENCING

JOHN A. WOODCOCK, Jr., Chief District Judge.

Domingós Nóbrega returns to court seeking a new trial and new sentencing based on four arguments-that he is a sovereign man and not subject to the jurisdiction of this Court, that he was deprived of his right to confront his accuser, Norella Meerzon, that certain physical evidence was hidden from the jury, and that the Court should prosecute Ms. Meerzon. The Court previously addressed and rejected these same arguments in somewhat different forms and does so again. Mr. Nóbrega's filings are late and procedurally barred; nevertheless, as Mr. Nóbrega has strenuously urged the Court to address his concerns, the Court has once again done so and denies his motions for post-conviction relief.

I. BACKGROUND

After a two-day trial, on May 24, 2011, a federal jury found Domingós Nóbrega guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Jury Verdict Form (ECF No. 98). Pursuant to the jury verdict, the Court sentenced Mr. Nóbrega on July 13, 2012 to ten years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment; the Court imposed no fine. J. (ECF No. 228). The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit upheld Mr. Nóbrega's conviction on May 20, 2014. J. (ECF No. 275) ( First Circuit J. ).

Mr. Nóbrega has filed numerous post-judgment motions. On June 2, 2014, he filed a post-conviction motion with this Court, Letter From Sir Domingos Nóbrega (ECF No. 276) ( Def.'s Mots. ), but also filed an appeal of the First Circuit's denial of his previous appeal. Notice for Appeal J. (ECF No. 277). On June 9, 2014, this Court stayed Mr. Nóbrega's post-conviction motion until the First Circuit resolved the appeal. Order Staying Mot. for Post-Conviction Relief (ECF No. 278). On June 26, 2014, the First Circuit remanded the matter to this Court. Order of Court (ECF No. 280). With the docketing of the appellate court's Order, this Court's stay of the post-conviction motion is lifted and the Court now addresses Mr. Nóbrega's post-conviction motions.

A. The Trial Evidence[1]

Trial testimony revealed that in October 2010, Mr. Nóbrega, a convicted felon, was staying in Bangor, Maine with his girlfriend, Norella Meerzon. During the months before October 2010, Mr. Nóbrega had exchanged emails with a friend named Eric Babilonia. Mr. Babilonia became increasingly concerned about Mr. Nóbrega's emails and he informed Ms. Meerzon about Mr. Nóbrega's apparent instability. On October 23, 2010, Ms. Meerzon went to the Bangor Police, showed them the email correspondence between Mr. Nóbrega and Mr. Babilonia, and based on that correspondence, the Bangor Police set up a tactical team around Mr. Nóbrega's Bangor home. They tried repeatedly, but unsuccessfully, to contact Mr. Nóbrega over the next four hours, and ultimately tear-gassed the Nóbrega residence. Mr. Nóbrega emerged peacefully and was arrested.

During the hours that the tactical team had surrounded the residence, Joel Nadeau, a Bangor Police Detective who had been trained as a sniper, had Mr. Nóbrega under surveillance with a high-powered scope and testified that he saw Mr. Nóbrega hold a semiautomatic weapon. Bangor Police Detective Eric Tall participated in the execution of a search warrant and testified that he found a 9-millimeter Glock pistol underneath the mattress on the bed in the master bedroom. Detective Nadeau testified that the Glock closely resembled the pistol that he observed in Mr. Nóbrega's possession the night before.

In addition to police witnesses, the Government called several other witnesses. First, Mr. Babilonia confirmed that among the other things Mr. Nóbrega had said that caused him concern was that he was "sitting next to his gun, " and that he was "locked, cocked and ready to go, pretty much he had his guns, and he was suited up."

Next, the Government called as witnesses a number of friends who visited the Nóbrega-Meerzon residence during the days leading up to October 23, 2010. One was Crystal Schroeder. She arrived at the Bangor home on October 18 or 19 with Jason Rodriguez, Christopher Sherrill, and Justina Cipriano, and a woman named Olga. Ms. Schroeder testified that when she arrived at the Meerzon home, Mr. Nóbrega opened the door and was carrying a black handgun. Ms. Schroeder said that she noticed the same firearm on the nightstand in Ms. Meerzon's and Mr. Nóbrega's bedroom. Finally, she testified that the evening before the New York friends left, when they sat down for dinner, Mr. Nóbrega got dressed up in a black bullet-proof vest, a robe, a shoulder holster, and a gun in the holster. Ms. Schroeder identified Exhibit 6, which was the Glock that Detectives Tall and Nadeau identified, as being the firearm that Mr. Nóbrega had in his holster. Ms. Schroeder said that Mr. Nóbrega described the meal as the "Last Supper" and during the meal, he brought out a Bible and had Ms. Schroeder read a passage about betrayal.

Christopher Sherrill also testified. He arrived in Bangor with Justina Cipriano, Crystal Schroeder, Jason Rodriguez, and Olga. He confirmed that he had seen a handgun in the master bedroom on a nightstand. Mr. Sherrill testified that when he and Justina Cipriano were in one of the bedrooms, Mr. Nóbrega entered wearing a black shoulder holster with a gun. Mr. Sherrill later saw the holster through the white robe Mr. Nóbrega was wearing that evening. He confirmed that Mr. Nóbrega called the dinner the "Last Supper." Mr. Sherrill testified that Mr. Nóbrega told him that he had the gun in order to protect himself from Jason Rodriguez, who he thought was a police officer. Mr. Sherrill identified Exhibit 6 as appearing to be the same firearm that was on the nightstand in the master bedroom.

Justina Cipriano testified. She corroborated Mr. Sherrill's testimony about Mr. Nóbrega coming into their bedroom with a gun and a vest. She also was "pretty sure" he was playing with the firearm, cocking it. Similarly, she identified Exhibit 6 as appearing like the gun Mr. Nóbrega had in the bedroom.

Jason Rodriguez testified. Mr. Rodirguez is a sound technician who met Mr. Nóbrega in the music business in New York, and they had developed a "working relationship." Mr. Rodriguez testified that while they were in New York, Mr. Nóbrega told him he had a gun and that Mr. Rodriguez witnessed one. When Mr. Rodriguez arrived in Maine to visit Ms. Meerzon and Mr. Nóbrega, Mr. Rodriguez did not see Mr. Nóbrega with a firearm, but he confirmed details about the so-called "Last Supper, " including Mr. Nóbrega's white robe and Bible readings.

The Government also called April Renee Maness as a witness. She has known Mr. Nóbrega ever since she was 12 or 13 years old. She said that on October 23, 2010, he began texting her about having "some kind of a crisis." He thought his girlfriend was having him followed by the FBI. He ...


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