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United States v. Wint

United States District Court, D. Vermont

May 21, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
ROYAN WINT, Defendant.

ORDER ON MOTION FOR ACQUITTAL AND MOTIONS FOR A NEW TRIAL (Docs. 116, 139)

J. GARVAN MURTHA, District Judge.

I. Introduction

On June 25, 2014, a jury found Defendant Royan Wint guilty of both counts in the Superseding Indictment: (1) conspiring to distribute or possess with intent to distribute cocaine, oxycodone, or cocaine base in an amount of 28 grams or more, and (2) possession with intent to distribute cocaine, oxycodone, or cocaine base in an amount of 28 grams or more. (Doc. 111.)

While represented by former trial counsel John Mabie, Wint moved for a new trial based on alleged sleeping jurors. (Doc. 116.) The Government opposed this motion. (Doc. 117.) Later, once represented by current counsel Elizabeth Mann, Wint moved for acquittal or, in the alternative, a new trial based on alleged ineffective assistance of counsel. (Doc. 139.) Mabie submitted an affidavit responding to the assertion he provided ineffective counsel. (Doc. 142.) The Government then opposed Wint's motion. (Doc. 145.) Wint did not reply to the Government's opposition. For the following reasons, Wint's motion is denied.

II. Background

Wint was originally indicted on June 27, 2012. (Doc. 1.) In the Second Superseding Indictment issued on August 14, 2013, the Government charged Wint with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute cocaine base, cocaine, and oxycodone (21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(B)) and possession with intent to distribute cocaine base, cocaine, and oxycodone (21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(B); 18 U.S.C. § 2). (Doc. 50.)

Before trial, Wint moved to suppress all tangible evidence and statements. (Doc. 32.) On January 13, 2014, the Court held a hearing on the motion to suppress. The hearing was continued, and a second hearing was held on January 29, 2014. Wint testified at the second hearing. The Court ultimately denied the motion to suppress. (Doc. 80.) Subsequently, Wint moved to allow his attorney, John Mabie, to withdraw. (Doc. 96.) Mabie was Wint's third attorney. The Government opposed Wint's motion to withdraw. (Doc. 97.) The Court ultimately denied the motion to withdraw and Wint proceeded to trial with Mabie as counsel. (Doc. 98.)

The Court held a trial from June 23, 2014 to June 25, 2014. At trial the Government elicited testimony from several witnesses showing Wint possessed controlled substances. Wayne Godfrey, a Vermont State Police ("VSP") trooper, testified he learned Wint had sold cocaine to Shauna Poole, and subsequently obtained a search warrant for Wint's home. (Doc. 132, at 41-42.) He testified he participated in the execution of the search warrant at 7:00 a.m. on May 22, 2012 and found cocaine, cocaine base, and pills in a purse and just under $12, 000 in a closet.[1] (Id. at 43-46.) Wint was present in his home along with Duran Forester and Felicia Young. (Id.)

Other testimony showed Wint admitted to conspiring with others to distribute cocaine, cocaine base, and oxycodone. VSP Trooper Henry Alberico testified about interviews with Wint and Felicia Young on May 22, 2012. (Id. at 102.) He stated Wint admitted the cocaine and cocaine base found in his home were his and that he obtained them in Brooklyn. (Id. at 104-05.) He also stated Wint admitted he obtained oxycodone from a man called "White Boy" in Albany and gave those pills to Felicia Young to distribute in New Hampshire. (Id. at 106.) Finally, he stated Wint admitted the cash found in his home was obtained from narcotics sales and gambling. (Id. at 107.) VSP Trooper Casey Daniell also testified about interviews with Wint and Young on May 22, 2012. He stated Wint advised he had suppliers in Bennington, Vermont; Springfield, Vermont; New York, New York; and Albany, New York. (Doc. 133, at 171-72.) He stated that Wint had Young sell drugs in New Hampshire. (Id. at 173-74.)

Testimony corroborated Wint's admissions he conspired with others to possess and distribute narcotics. Shauna Poole testified Wint supplied Mason Ingraham with cocaine and oxycodone in the spring of 2012, which Ingraham then distributed to locals. (Doc. 132, at 161-72.) Marybeth Barrett, a friend of Wint, testified Wint gave her oxycodone in 2012 which she delivered to others at his instruction. (Doc. 133, at 10-11.) Felicia Young, another friend of Wint, testified she distributed drugs with Wint. (Id. at 47.) She described the process by which Wint provided her oxycodone to sell and advised her on pricing pills. (Id. at 60-62.) She also described driving Wint around Bennington so that he could make drug deliveries. (Id. at 80.) She stated she saw cocaine, cocaine base, oxycodone, and ecstasy in Wint's possession. (Id. at 67.) She explained Wint picked up cocaine and cocaine base in New York City (Id. at 69-70) and oxycodone in Albany from "White Boy" (Id. at 83), and that she accompanied him on trips to pick up drugs at both locations.[2] VSP Trooper Robert Zink, who searched Wint's car, testified he found a piece of paper containing the phrase "NY-Albany" and a series of times corresponding to a bus schedule, as well as "tool marks" consistent with someone tampering inside the car and indicative of attempts to conceal narcotics in a hidden compartment for transportation. (Doc. 132, at 77-81.)

On June 25, 2014, a jury found Wint guilty on both counts. Wint subsequently moved for a new trial on the basis that some jurors were sleeping during the trial. (Doc. 116.) Wint also renewed his motion for Mabie to withdraw. (Doc. 118.) On September 23, 2014, the Court held a status conference and hearing and granted Wint's motion for Mabie to withdraw as counsel and appointed Elizabeth Mann, Wint's fourth attorney. (Doc. 127.)

On December 23, 2014, Wint filed the present motion for acquittal or, in the alternative, a new trial. (Doc. 139.) The Government moved unopposed for an affidavit from Mabie, Wint's trial counsel, in response to Wint's allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel (Doc. 140), and the Court granted the motion (Doc. 141). Mabie filed his affidavit on February 12, 2015. (Doc. 142.) On March 23, 2015, the Government responded in opposition to Wint's motion for acquittal or a new trial. (Doc. 145.)

III. Discussion

A. Motion for a New Trial Based on ...


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