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United States v. Stile

United States District Court, D. Maine

October 28, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
JAMES STILE.

ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS INDICTMENT AND STAY PROCEEDINGS PENDING RECONSTITUTING JURY WHEEL TO CONFORM TO STATUTORY AND CONSTITUTIONAL FAIR CROSS SECTION REQUIREMENTS

JOHN A. WOODCOCK, Jr., District Judge.

James Stile moves to dismiss the indictment and to stay proceedings on the theory that the District's jury plan and its implementation of that plan failed to produce a grand jury consistent with statutory and constitutional fair cross-section requirements. The Court denies the motion, concluding that generational groupings do not constitute a "distinctive group in the community" for purposes of the fair cross-section requirement, and that any implementation failures were merely technical.

I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

A. Indictment and Scheduled Trial

On October 20, 2011, a federal grand jury indicted James Stile for four violations of federal law: (1) robbery of controlled substances from a DEA Registered Pharmacy, an alleged violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2118(a), (2) use of a firearm in furtherance of a federal crime of violence, an alleged violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A), (3) being a felon in possession of a firearm, an alleged violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), and (4) manufacturing more than 100 marijuana plants, an alleged violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). Indictment (ECF No. 8). On July 15, 2014, the Court set this case for trial in November 2014 and the matter now stands ready for jury selection and the commencement of trial on November 3, 2014.[1] Notice of Hr'g (ECF No. 432); Notice of Rescheduled Hr'g (ECF No. 471).

B. Jury Records

In February 2014, Mr. Stile revealed that he intended to challenge the composition of the grand jury that indicted him. Over the ensuing months, Mr. Stile made various requests from the Clerk's Office for juror information and, in the end, was satisfied with the information the Clerk's Office had provided. Order on Status of Mots. for Disclosure of Jury Records (ECF No. 479). The records that form the underlying basis for the motion include the following:

1) United States District Court for the District of Maine Plan for the Random Selection of Grand and Petit Jurors for Service in the District of Maine dated December 16, 2008;
2) The Master Wheel;
3) The Qualified Wheel Report;
4) Letter dated February 16, 2012 from Judge Woodcock to a grand juror excusing that grand juror for cause;
5) AO Form 12 dated December 22, 2010, entitled Report on Operation of the Jury Selection Plan Completed Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1863(a);
6) A CD entitled Juror Records;
7) A CD entitled Additional Data Request-Census Tables.

II. THE PARTIES' POSITIONS

A. James Stile's Motion

On October 3, 2014, James Stile moved to dismiss the indictment in this case claiming that the District of Maine juror selection process violates both statutory and constitutional requirements that the jury be representative of a fair cross-section of the community. Mot. to Dismiss Indictment and Stay Proceedings Pending Reconstituting Jury Wheel to Conform to Statutory and Constitutional Fair Cross Section Requirements (ECF No. 476) ( Def.'s Mot. ). Mr. Stile engaged the services of Jeffrey O'Neal Martin, an economist and statistical expert, to analyze the District of Maine's Plan and its application to James Stile's case. Def.'s Mot. Attach. 1 ( Martin Decl. ). In his motion, Mr. Stile raises four overriding points: (1) that the Clerk's Office failed to properly follow up when questionnaires contained obviously erroneous information or undelivered questionnaires; (2) that the Jury Plan violates the fair cross-section requirement of the United States Constitution by allowing prospective jurors over the age of 70 to opt out; (3) that the Jury Plan violates 28 U.S.C. § 1863(a) by failing to have an Oversight Panel;[2] and (4) that the Jury Plan violates 28 U.S.C. § 1863(b)(2) because it is drawn exclusively from voter registration lists.[3] Id. at 2-5.

B. The Government's Response

On October 10, 2014, the Government filed its opposition to Mr. Stile's motion. Opp'n to Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss Indictment and Stay Proceedings Pending Reconstitution of Jury Wheel (ECF No. 489) ( Gov't's Opp'n ). The Government argues that Mr. Stile has failed to establish a prima facie case of unconstitutional disproportionality and has not shown a failure on the part of the Clerk's Office to comply with the Jury Selection and Service Act (JSSA) that implicates his right to a grand jury composed of a fair cross-section of the community. Id. at 1. The Government says that even if the Clerk's Office erred in not following up obvious errors in the Qualified Wheel, the errors were technical only and did not constitute a substantial failure to comply with the JSSA. Id. at 3-4. Regarding Mr. Stile's contention that the ...


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