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United States v. Waide

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

December 16, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
QUINICINO WAIDE, Defendant.

          ORDER AND OPINION

          KAREN K. CALDWELL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on various motions filed by the Defendant: (1) a motion in limine (DE 95); (2) a motion to dismiss (DE 98); and (3) a motion to suppress (DE 97). For the reasons stated below, all the motions are DENIED.

         I. Background

         The aforementioned motions were filed on September 16, 2019, approximately two weeks before trial. Considering the impending trial date and the need to resolve the motions, the Court ordered briefing on an expedited basis. (DE 99.) After briefing was submitted, on September 25, 2019, the United States moved for a hearing on the motions. (DE 105.) The same day, the Court set the matter for a hearing the day before trial was set to begin. (DE 106.)

         On September 26, 2019, the Defendant moved for rearraignment. (DE 107.) Accordingly, the Court set aside the hearing and converted the trial date to a rearraignment hearing. (DE 108.) On October 1, 2019, the Defendant entered a guilty plea. (DE 110.)

         A few days later, the Defendant wrote the Court a letter stating that he did not understand the terms of his guilty plea. (DE 112.) The Court then set a status hearing to determine whether the Defendant wished to withdraw his guilty plea. (DE 113.)

         At the status hearing, Defendant moved to withdraw his plea and be appointed new counsel under the Criminal Justice Act. The Court appointed new counsel and took the motion to withdraw the guilty plea under advisement. The Court stated that once the defendant has reviewed his case with his newly appointed counsel, the Court will set a status conference to determine whether the Defendant still wished to withdraw his plea. (DE 121.)

         The Court recognizes that the pending motions are not submitted by Defendant's newly appointed counsel. However, Defendant's new counsel has not moved to withdraw the pending motions. The Court finds it prudent that the motions be resolved, despite the fact that the Defendant may decide not to withdraw his plea. The Court, accordingly, resolves the motions below.

         II. Motion in Limine.

         The Defendant's motion in limine seeks to prevent the United States from using money evidence to prove drug quantities at trial. (DE 95 at 1.) The Court considers the motion to be premature, and consequently, it is denied.

         The Defendant asserts that money evidence is not relevant to prove drug-quantities at trial and cites a single case, United States v. Revel, 971 F.2d 656 (11th Cir. 1992). Revel does not, however, deal with any money evidence. As such, it does not support the Defendant's position.

         The United States contends that money evidence is admissible because “'cash proceeds/drug proceeds' is admissible to prove a defendant's connection to drug trafficking.” (DE 101 at 1.) See also United States v. Taylor, 471 F. App'x. 499, (6th Cir. 2012); United States v. Forrest, 17 F.3d 916, 919 (6th Cir. 1994); United States v. Lloyd, 10 F.3d 1197, 1213 (6th Cir. 1993). The United States further states that “the Sixth Circuit has held that large amounts of cash are ‘tools of the drug trade.'” See United States v. Brooks, 594 F.3d 488, 495 (6th Cir. 2010); United States v. Bell, 766 F.3d 634 (6th Cir. 2014); United States v. Johnson, 737 F.3d 444, 447-48 (6th Cir. 2013); United States v. Hill, 142 F.3d 305, 311 (6th Cir. 1998). Finally, the United States argues that the money seized in this case is relevant to the question of forfeiture. (DE 101 at 2-3.) Thus, the United States indicates that it intends to use money evidence as evidence of drug trafficking and as evidence regarding the forfeiture allegation. The United States does not, however, indicate that it intends to use money evidence to prove drug quantities at trial.

         At this time, the Court is unable to determine whether the United States will even attempt to use the money evidence to prove drug quantities at trial. Accordingly, the Court will be in a better position to rule on this motion at trial once it understands the context in which the United States intends to use the money evidence. As such, the Defendant may reassert this motion in limine at trial if appropriate and necessary.

         III. ...


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