United States District Court, D. Maine
ORDER ON MOTION TO TRANSFER
A. WOODCOCK, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Court denies a defendant's motion to transfer the
proceedings on a pending petition for revocation of
supervised release from Bangor to Portland, Maine. The Court
is skeptical that a motion to transfer is the proper vehicle
for a within-district change in the location of a proceeding,
and in any case, the Court is not convinced that a formal
change in the location of the proceedings is necessary to
resolve the pending petition in an efficient and just manner.
October 1, 2014, the federal prosecutor filed a criminal
complaint against Ryan Robert Pomerleau, charging him with
stealing a letter addressed to Jackson Hardware of Kittery,
Maine, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1708. Compl.
(ECF No. 3). Although the initial criminal complaint was
filed on October 1, 2014, in Portland, id., on
January 14, 2015, Mr. Pomerleau appeared before the Court in
Bangor, waived indictment, and pleaded guilty to an
information that charged him with one count of stealing mail
and one count of conspiring to steal mail from mailboxes in
the Augusta, Maine area. Waiver of Indictment (ECF
No. 21); Information (ECF No. 22); Min.
Entry (ECF No. 26). After being initially represented by
Portland area counsel, Federal Defender David Beneman, Mr.
Pomerleau was represented by Bangor area counsel, James S.
Nixon, the Assistant Federal Defender. Min. Entry
(ECF No. 10); Min. Entry (ECF No. 26). On June 8,
2015, the Court sentenced Mr. Pomerleau in Bangor to a
concurrent term of forty-eight months of incarceration, three
years of supervised release, $87, 752.22 in restitution, and
a $100 special assessment. J. (ECF No. 37).
September 30, 2019, the United States District Court in
Bangor issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Pomerleau for
violating the conditions of his supervised release.
Arrest Warrant (ECF No. 45). Specifically, on
September 30, 2019, the Government filed a petition for
warrant or summons for offender under supervision, alleging
that Mr. Pomerleau had violated three conditions of
supervised release, including an operating under the
influence arrest in Gorham, Maine. Pet. for Warrant or
Summons for Offender under Supervision (ECF No. 43). Mr.
Pomerleau was arrested on October 1, 2019, at the York County
Jail. Return of Arrest Warrant (ECF No. 47). On
October 1, 2019, Bangor area Attorney Terence Harrigan
appeared on behalf of Mr. Pomerleau because Mr. Nixon was
unavailable at that time. Min. Entry (ECF No. 48).
Mr. Harrigan represented Mr. Pomerleau in Bangor on October 1
and 2, 2019, when he waived preliminary hearing and was
ordered temporarily detained. Waiver of a Prelim.
Hr'g (ECF No. 51); Order of Temp. Detention
(ECF No. 53). Mr. Harrigan also represented Mr. Pomerleau in
Bangor on October 7, 2019, at a detention hearing that
resulted in Mr. Pomerleau being detained. Order of
Detention Pending Revocation Hr'g (ECF No. 57).
THE POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES
Ryan Robert Pomerleau's Motion
October 3, 2019, Mr. Pomerleau moved to have the Court
transfer the case from Bangor to Portland. Mot. to
Transfer (ECF No. 54). In the motion, Mr. Pomerleau
states that (1) he currently lives in Eliot, Maine, (2) that
his probation officer is based in Portland, (3) that the
alleged violations occurred in the Portland area, and (4)
that Judge Woodcock is based in Portland. Id. at 1.
He says that Portland area defense counsel could be appointed
to represent him if the matter were heard in Portland.
The Government's Opposition
October 5, 2019, the Assistant United States Attorney
objected to the case being moved from Bangor to Portland.
Gov't's Opp'n to Def.'s Mot. to
Transfer (ECF No. 55). The Government notes that Mr.
Pomerleau committed his criminal offense in Augusta, Maine,
which falls within the “jurisdiction” of the
United States District Court in Bangor. Id. at 1.
The Government also observes that Mr. Pomerleau is being
housed at the Somerset County Superior Court in Skowhegan,
Maine, which would make Bangor a more accessible location.
Court is somewhat nonplussed by Mr. Pomerleau's motion to
transfer. Typically, a motion to transfer is filed under
Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 20 where the prosecution
is transferred from one district to another by consent. Fed.
R. Crim. P. 20(a) (“A prosecution may be transferred
from the district where the indictment or information is
pending, or from which a warrant on a complaint has been
issued, to the district where the defendant is arrested, held
or present”). Alternatively, the rules provide for a
transfer from one district to another for trial if there is a
showing of prejudice. Fed. R. Crim. P. 21. But neither rule
applies to a transfer within a district.
the District of Maine is one district and it strikes the
Court as odd to view Bangor and Portland as so far apart to
require an order of the Court to hold hearings on a petition
for revocation of supervised release in one or the other
since the United States District Court for the District of
Maine regularly holds court in both cities. Judges, lawyers,
probation officers, and others regularly travel from Portland
to Bangor and from Bangor to Portland to do the business of
event, the Court does not see the need to change the location
of the hearings in this petition for revocation from Bangor
to Portland. First, Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA)
James Moore, who prosecuted this case from its outset and is
most familiar with it, is located in Bangor. If the Court
held hearings in Portland, he would be required to travel to
and from Bangor to prosecute the revocation petition.
Alternatively, if a new Portland prosecutor were necessary,
someone from the United ...