Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Minton

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Lexington

March 21, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JOYCE MINTON, AARON BROOKE WARREN, and JAMES MINTON, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          Joseph M. Hood Senior U.S. District Judge

         This matter is before the Court on the Motion to Quash Nine Subpoenas to Produce Documents filed by the United States [DE 41] and the Motion to Quash filed by Clark Machine Tool & Die, Inc. (“Clark Machine”), Ray E. Clark, Jr., Barbara Sue Clark and Danny Ray Clark (collectively referred to as the “Clarks”) [DE 45]. Defendants, Joyce Minton, Aaron Brooke Warren (“Warren”), and James Minton (collectively referred to as “Defendants”) filed Responses to the Motions to Quash [DE 47, 48] and the Court conducted a Motion Hearing on the Motions to Quash on March 9, 2017 [DE 49]. During the hearing, the Court ruled that Defendants are not entitled to all information requested in the subpoenas for the reasons stated in the record, but that Defendants would have until Thursday, March 16, 2017, to file ex parte statements detailing dates, places, checks and bank records that specifically relate to proof of permission given by the alleged victims to incur such expenditures [Id.]. On March 17, 2017, Defendants jointly filed a Motion for Leave to File Sealed and Ex Parte Motion [DE 51], which is also currently pending before the Court. This matter is now ripe for review.

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Defendants have each been charged with mail fraud and bank fraud against Clark Machine. According to the Indictment [DE 1], Clark Machine was operated by the Clarks. Joyce Minton was employed as an office manager and bookkeeper; her son, Warren, was employed as shop foreman; and her husband, James Minton, was a contractor. The Indictment charges that from around February 2000 continuing through May 2016, Defendants engaged in various means of mail and bank fraud in order to defraud and obtain money and property by material misrepresentations and concealment of material facts [Id.]. For example, the Indictment alleges that Warren “collected from customers and personally kept money and property paid for work done by [Clark Machine's] employees, with its equipment, and on its premises, deceiving [Clark Machine], the employees, and the paying customers, ” and that Joyce Minton was aware of and aided this deception [Id. at ¶3]. The Indictment also alleges that Warren made and kept personal purchases using money, checks, and a credit card from Clark Machine and that Joyce Minton was aware and aided in this deception [Id. at ¶4]. Moreover, the Indictment alleges that Joyce Minton and James Minton “made and kept personal purchases using money and checks from [Clark Machine], deceiving [Clark Machine], including by concealing these personal purchases and falsely recording them as business expenses” [Id. at ¶5]. A full list of the personal purchases allegedly made using Clark Machine funds and paid for and/or received using the Postal Service or a commercial interstate carrier is set forth more fully in the Indictment, but these purchases include items such as a Santa Fe Max Dry Dual XT Dehumidifier ($2, 163); Nike training shoes ($156.97); TaylorMade golf clubs ($847.99); Biondo Racing engine part and clothing ($3, 127.99); and a Mark Williams Enterprises driveshaft ($2, 250).

         On February 27 and March 1, 2017, Warren's counsel signed and served nine subpoenas on Clark Machine and the Clarks, seeking a wide range of information, including a mirror copy of Clark Machine's Open Systems Accounting Software system; a mirror copy of Clark Machine's OSAS accounting system; a mirror copy of Clark Machine's Masterfile, including monthly and yearly financial reports and all video surveillance back-up files; Clark Machine's federal and state tax records from 2000 to the present; Clark Machine's original monthly credit card statements from 2000 to the present; a mirror copy of surveillance video in Clark Machine's possession; and the Clark's personal federal and state tax returns and any correspondence with any taxing agency from 2000 to July 2016 [DE 41-1].

         The United States and the Clarks both moved to quash these subpoenas on the grounds that they were not specific; they sought inadmissible evidence; that they demand evidence that has been provided; and that they are unreasonable and oppressive [DE 41, 45]. In Response, Defendants argue that “this case boils down to a dispute over permission” and that the evidence sought by the subpoenas is relevant to the Defendants' claims that they had the Clarks' knowledge and consent to use the company checkbook and/or credit card in the manner in which they did [DE 47].

         The Court conducted a Motion Hearing on this matter and indicated its agreement with respect to the irrelevance, oppressiveness and lack of specificity with respect to the evidence sought by the subpoenas. However, in an abundance of caution, the Court took the Motions to Quash under advisement and provided Defendants with the opportunity to file ex parte statements detailing dates, places, checks and bank records that specifically relate to proof of permission given by the Clarks and/or Clark Machine to incur such expenditures. Defendants have now filed an ex parte motion requesting copies of all emails between specifically identified individuals; all Clark Machine surveillance video; and Clark Machine credit card statements for specific months associated with certain counts in the Indictment regarding credit card expenditures [DE 51-1].[1]

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW AND ANALYSIS

         At the outset, the Court notes that discovery in criminal cases is more limited that the general discovery that is available to litigants in civil cases. See Degen v. United States, 517 U.S. 820, 825-826 (1996)(noting that a criminal defendant is entitled to rather limited discovery in comparison to a party in a civil case). Indeed, “there is no general constitutional right to discovery in a criminal case.” Weatherford v. Bursey, 429 U.S. 545, 559 (1977). Rule 16 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure “requires the government to disclose to the defense before trial only specific categories of evidence.” United States v. Presser, 844 F.2d 1275, 1284 (6th Cir. 1988). Moreover, “the discovery afforded by Rule 16 is limited to the evidence referred to in its express provisions.” Id. at 1285. Rule 16 “provides no authority for compelling the pre-trial disclosure...of any other evidence not specifically mentioned by the rule.” Id. (citations omitted).

         With respect to subpoenas in a criminal case, Rule 17(c) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure provides:

(c) Producing Documents and Objects.
(1) In General. A subpoena may order the witness to produce any books, papers, documents, data, or other objects the subpoena designates. The court may direct the witness to produce the designated items in court before trial or before they are to be offered in evidence. When the items arrive, the court may permit the parties and their attorneys to inspect all or part of them.
(2) Quashing or Modifying the Subpoena. On motion made promptly, the court may quash or modify the subpoena if compliance would be unreasonable or oppressive.
(3) Subpoena for Personal or Confidential Information About a Victim. After a complaint, indictment, or information is filed, a subpoena requiring the production of personal or confidential information about a victim may be served on a third party only by court order. Before entering the order and unless there are exceptional circumstances, the court must require giving notice ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.