United States District Court, D. Maine
ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR A BILL OF
TORRESEN, UNITED STATES CHIEF DISTRICT JUDGE.
me is Defendant Matthew Roaf's motion for a bill of
particulars. (ECF No. 33) (“Def.'s
Mot.”). Mr. Roaf argues that the Indictment
against him fails to provide him with sufficient information
to prepare his defense, and creates a risk that he could be
convicted without a true unanimous verdict or convicted of a
crime with which he was not charged. Def.'s Mot. 1. The
Government opposes the motion on the grounds that the
Indictment is sufficiently specific and that the particulars
Mr. Roaf requests are apparent in the discovery that the
Government has provided. Gov't's Resp. 2-3 (ECF No.
36); Gov't's Supp. Resp. 1 (ECF No. 41). For the
reasons set forth below, I DENY Mr.
Roaf's motion for a bill of particulars.
20, 2017, Mr. Roaf was charged in a one-count Indictment,
which asserted that:
On about March 30, 2016, defendant Matthew Roaf knowingly and
intentionally distributed a controlled substance, namely
fentanyl, in violation of Title 21, United States Code,
1 (ECF No. 3).
September 22, 2017, Mr. Roaf filed a motion for a bill of
particulars that requested information regarding: (1) the
precise date on which the charged distribution allegedly
occurred; (2) the municipality in which the distribution
allegedly took place; (3) the time or approximate time of the
alleged distribution; and (4) the name of the alleged
distributee. Def.'s Mot. 1. Mr. Roaf explained that the
Government believes he distributed drugs on more than one
occasion “on about March 30, 2016, ” and that the
Government intends to introduce evidence of multiple drug
transactions at trial. Def.'s Mot. 1. Mr. Roaf further
noted that the Government had produced “tens of
thousands of pages of discovery” regarding many drug
transactions, “some” of which could conceivably
have involved Mr. Roaf. Def.'s Mot. 4. Mr. Roaf argued
that without his requested particulars, he could not be
certain what purported transaction he should prepare to
defend. Def.'s Mot. 4-5.
response to Mr. Roaf's motion, the Government argued that
the Indictment is sufficiently specific and that the
particulars were provided in discovery. Gov't's Resp.
1-2. In supplemental briefing, the Government specifically
represented that the charge against Mr. Roaf relates to his
alleged “distribution of fentanyl to L.H. on March 30,
2016 that [L.H.] subsequently distributed to a person who
overdosed.” Gov't's Supp. Resp. 1.
for bills of particulars are seldom employed in modern
federal practice, ” and when they do arise “need
be granted only if the accused, in the absence of a more
detailed specification, will be disabled from preparing a
defense, caught by unfair surprise at trial, or hampered in
seeking the shelter of the Double Jeopardy Clause.”
United States v. Sepulveda, 15 F.3d 1161, 1192-93
(1st Cir. 1993). “Generally, if the information sought
by [the] defendant is provided in the indictment or in some
acceptable alternate form, no bill of particulars is
required.” United States v. Bortnovsky, 820
F.2d 572, 574 (2d Cir. 1987); see also Sepulveda, 15
F.3d at 1193 (“open-file” discovery provided
defendants with sufficient information to prepare for trial,
obviating bill of particulars); United States v.
Boidi, No. CRIM.A. 05-10025-GAO, 2006 WL 456004, at *4
(D. Mass. Feb. 24, 2006) (denying motion for bill of
particulars where the government had offered to provide a
brief letter giving additional details about the counts
Indictment specifies the statute that Mr. Roaf allegedly
violated (21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1)), the nature of the
charged misconduct (knowingly and intentionally distributing
fentanyl), and the approximate date and location of the
charged misconduct (about March 30, 2016 in the District of
Maine). Indictment 1. Through its briefing, the Government
has clarified the exact date of the alleged distribution
(March 30, 2016), the initials of the individual to whom Mr.
Roaf allegedly distributed the fentanyl (L.H.), and that the
fentanyl Mr. Roaf allegedly distributed to L.H. was later
redistributed to a person who overdosed. Gov't's
Supp. Resp. 1. The Government has also represented that its
disclosures include materials, including recorded testimony,
that relate to this specific transaction. Gov't's
Supp. Resp. 1.
that, taken together, the information in the Indictment and
the additional specifics averred in the Government's
briefing suffice to put Mr. Roaf on notice as to the drug
transaction that constitutes the basis of the charge. Mr.
Roaf's request for additional particulars is therefore
obviated, and his motion is denied.
For the reasons stated above, the Court