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United States v. Wint

United States District Court, D. Vermont

July 29, 2015

ROYAN WINT, Defendant.


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. (Doc. 111.) Wint subsequently moved for acquittal or, in the alternative, a new trial based on alleged ineffective assistance of counsel. (Docs. 116, 139.) The Court denied those motions. (Doc. 147.) Wint now moves, pro se, for reconsideration of the Court's Order denying his motions for acquittal or a new trial. (Docs. 152, 153, 156.[1]) Because Wint submits his motion pro se, the Court reads it "liberally and interpret[s] [it] to raise the strongest arguments that [it] suggest[s]." McPherson v. Coombe, 174 F.3d 276, 280 (2d Cir. 1999) (internal quotations and citation omitted). Even so, the Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED.

II. Discussion

A. Standard of Review

The standard for granting a motion to reconsider is strict, and reconsideration is generally denied unless the moving party points to controlling decisions or data that the court overlooked "matters, in other words, that might reasonably be expected to alter the conclusion reached by the court." Schrader v. CSX Transp., Inc., 70 F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 1995). If the moving party is seeking solely to relitigate an issue already decided, the court should deny the motion for reconsideration and adhere to its prior decision. Id.

B. Sufficiency of Evidence at Trial

Wint again argues the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to support his conviction. (Doc. 153-1, at 1.) First, he argues the evidence did not show he had an agreement with Felicia Young to distribute drugs. He cites a summary of a police interview in which Young does not state she sold drugs with him.[2] (Doc. 153-1, at 2.) This interview transcript is not new evidence and the does not give the Court cause to reconsider its ruling.

Second, Wint argues he neither "physically nor directly" possessed the drugs at issue. The police seized the drugs from Young's purse. At trial, however, Trooper Alberico testified Wint admitted these drugs belonged to him. (Doc. 132, at 104-05.) The jury could reasonably credit that testimony, and Wint presents no new facts to give the Court cause to reconsider its ruling.

Third, Wint argues the testimony of witnesses at trial was insufficient to convict him because the witnesses perjured themselves or admitted to poor memories. (Doc. 153-1, at 10; Doc. 156.) Poole testified she was recanting a previous story (Doc. 132, at 174, 186) and other witnesses testified to their drug use at the time of the relevant events or to having poor memories. See Doc. 132, at 185 (Poole testifies to drug use); Doc. 133, at 24-26 (Marybeth Barrett admits inconsistent testimony); Doc. 133, at 36 (Barrett admits to bad memory due to drug use); Doc. 133, at 110 (Young testifies to her bad memory); Doc. 133, at 114-16 (Young admits her testimony contradicts her initial statements to police). Wint cites United States v. Wallach, 935 F.2d 445 (1991), and Sanders v. Sullivan, 863 F.2d 218 (2d Cir. 1988), among other cases, for the proposition that a court should vacate a conviction when a key government witness committed perjury. Wint's case differs from Wallach and Sullivan, however, because he presents no new evidence that a witness committed perjury at trial. Compare United States v. Delarosa, No. 1:09-cr-64, 2012 WL 3778855, at *15 (D. Vt. Aug. 30, 2012) (denying a new trial when there was "only an allegation, not evidence, that... witnesses perjured themselves at trial"), aff'd 548 F.Appx. 717 (2d Cir. 2013), with Wallach, 935 F.2d at 458-59 (new trial required when, following trial, a key witness was convicted of perjury based on his trial testimony); Sanders, 863 F.2d at 222 (due process violation occurred if key witness later recants testimony). Wint presents no new evidence that any witness committed perjury at trial. Here, the jury was aware of inconsistencies between certain witnesses' trial testimony and previous statements to law enforcement, and could assess witness credibility accordingly.

Fourth, Wint argues the Court erred "in allowing a guilty verdict after denying' the [jury's request] for additional key pieces of evidence." Doc. 156, at 3 (punctuation in original); see also Doc 153-1, at 13. Wint refers to the jury's request to review Trooper Daniell's report on his interview with Wint, the transcript of a police interview with Young, and a transcript of Young's testimony. (Doc. 134, at 95.) As the Court informed the jury, Trooper Daniell's report and the transcript of the police interview with Young were not in evidence. ( Id. at 97-98.) The Court instructed the jury the court reporter could read back Young's testimony if they wished. (Id.) There was no error. Wint also asserts the Government "should have been BARRED ' from referring to evidence that was either destroyed, not available and/or did not' existed [sic]." Doc. 153-1, at 13 (emphasis in original). Contrary to Wint's suggestion, the Government properly presented witness testimony.

Fifth, Wint argues the Government failed to prove he confessed to Troopers Alberico and Daniell because it did not produce a video or audio recording of the interview. (Doc. 153-1, at 11.) Troopers Alberico and Daniell testified no recording was ever made. (Doc. 132, at 112-13, 116-17; Doc. 133, at 176.) The jury heard the testimony of Troopers Alberico and Daniell regarding Wint's confession, and they could credit that testimony. Wint presents no new contradictory facts.

C. Defective Indictment

Wint also argues the Indictment was defective because it states Wint entered into the conspiracy "in or about January 2012." (Doc. 153-1, at 3.) Wint claims he did not meet Young until February 2012 and therefore could not have conspired with her in January 2012. Even if Wint did not meet Young until February, the phrase "in or about, " however, allows for a conspiracy beginning in February. Wint also claims he never knew Mason Ingraham and Shauna Poole, and therefore could not have ...

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