United States District Court, D. Maine
ORDER ON MOTION FOR RETURN OF PROPERTY
A. WOODCOCK, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41(g), with the exception
of two pages of documents the Government seized as part of
its criminal case against the Defendant, the Court declines
to order the Government to obtain and produce documents a
county jail seized that were not related to the criminal
case. The Court orders the Government to provide the
defendant copies of the documents that it did seize pursuant
to Rule 41(g).
James Stile's Motion
October 10, 2017, James Stile filed a motion for return of
property pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure
41(g). Mot. for Return of Property Pursuant to Fed. R.
Crim. P. 41(g) (ECF No. 670). Mr. Stile states that on
December 22, 2017, a search warrant was executed at the
Somerset County Jail in Madison, Maine and that his personal
property was seized, including “documentary materials
that are relevant to current litigation before this Court in
1:13-CV-00248-JAW.” Id. at 1. Mr. Stile says
that there are currently motions for summary judgment pending
in this civil action and he needs the seized documents to
defend against the dispositive motions. Id. He
asserts that “Defendants Somerset County et.al., have
refused to provide such materials in discovery and continue
to do so.” Id. Significantly, he writes that
“[s]aid properties are not the subject of an appeal or
relevant to any criminal charge or potenti[al] criminal
charge as limitations have expired for any criminal
charges.” Id. Mr. Stile represents that his
criminal defense attorney, Peter Rodway, “has failed to
procure said materials from the Defendants nor request
release from the United States Attorney's Office of said
property.” Id. at 1-2. He requests an order
from this Court, “directing the U.S. Attorney's
Office to direct Somerset County Jail to release/send said
property directly to [him].” Id. at 2.
The Government's Response
Government urges the Court to deny Mr. Stile's request.
Gov't's Resp. to Def.'s Mot. for Return of
Property Pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 41(g) (ECF No.
674) (Gov't's Opp'n). First, the
Government says that Mr. Stile's motion contains a
typographical error, noting that a search warrant was carried
out on Mr. Stile's jail cell at the Somerset County Jail
on December 29, 2011, not December 29, 2017. Id. at
1, n.1. Nevertheless, the Government says that the production
of the seized documents “were seized by Somerset County
Jail officials and never provided to the U.S. Attorney's
Office.” Id. at 1.
the Government says:
On December 22, 2011, Somerset County Jail officials seized
Mr. Stile's legal papers (including discovery) from his
cell. On December 27, 2011, a federal search warrant was
issued for the purpose of obtaining two pages of discovery
from the seized documents relating to statements of an
informant against Mr. Stile. (Case No. 1:11-mj-00232-JAW,
Document #1). The search warrant was executed on December 29,
Other than these two pages (which have previously been
provided to Mr. Stile in Discovery), the U.S. Attorney's
Office did not receive the other legal documents seized from
Mr. Stile's cell. Thus, even if it wished to, the U.S.
Attorney's Office has no mechanism to
“direct” Somerset County to hand over the seized
documents to Mr. Stile.
Id. at 1-2. The Government has agreed to provide Mr.
Stile with copies of the two-page report obtained by the U.S.
Attorney's Office pursuant to the December 29, 2011
search warrant. Id. at 2.
James Stile's Reply
Stile has not filed a reply to the Government's response.