United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
ORDER AND OPINION
K. CALDWELL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
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
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.)
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.)
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
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
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.
Motion in Limine.
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.
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
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.
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.