United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
JAY C. ZAINEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
following motion is before the Court: Renewed Motion to
Dismiss (Rec. Doc. 1020) filed by defendant Solomon Doyle.
The Government opposes the motion (Rec. Doc. 1058). The
motion was submitted to the Court on April 5, 2017, for
consideration on the briefs.
12, 2015, a grand jury in the Eastern District of Louisiana
returned a 45 count indictment (“the Indictment”)
against defendants Leroy Price, Ashton Price, Alonzo Peters,
Jasmine Perry, McCoy Walker, Terrioues Owney, Evans Lewis,
Curtis Neville, Rico Jackson, Tyrone Knockum, Solomon Doyle,
Washington McCaskill, and Damian Barnes. On April 29, 2016, a
grand jury in the Eastern District of Louisiana returned a
superseding indictment (“the Superseding
Indictment”) against Defendants.
of the Indictment charges a RICO conspiracy in violation of
18 U.S.C. § 1962(d), which is supported by allegations
of 62 “overt acts” by the various defendants in
furtherance of the RICO conspiracy.
February 21, 2017, the jury returned its verdict finding
Doyle guilty as to the Count 1 RICO conspiracy. (Rec. Doc.
1011). Notably, the jury acquitted Doyle of the other violent
crimes for which he stood trial, including a murder charge.
For reasons explained in greater detail below, in light of
the jury's verdict Doyle is now reurging the motion to
dismiss that he filed on November 20, 2015 (Rec. Doc. 198),
and that the Court subsequently denied on February 2, 2016
(Rec. Doc. 278).
original motion to dismiss Doyle argued inter alia
that the Count 1 RICO charge violated his plea agreement with
the Government in the 11-107 case pending before Judge Brown.
In that case Doyle pleaded guilty to Count 1 of the
Superseding Bill of Information which charged conspiracy to
distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 100
grams or more of heroin. (Rec. Doc. 198-2, Plea Agreement).
In exchange, the Government agreed to dismiss the Fourth
Superseding Indictment, and any other indictments in the case
as they pertained to Doyle. The Government also agreed
not to charge the defendant with any other drug trafficking
crimes that he may have committed in the Eastern District of
Louisiana prior to July 28, 2011, as long as the defendant
has truthfully informed federal agents of the full details of
those crimes. The defendant understands that this agreement
does not apply to any crimes of violence which the defendant
may have committed.
Id. (emphasis added).
original motion to dismiss Doyle contended that the RICO
charge constituted a drug trafficking offense in violation of
the plea agreement. The Court explained that
All of the crimes charged against Doyle in the Indictment are
crimes of violence, which the plea agreement specifically
excepts. Counsel for Doyle in the 11-107 case has submitted
an affidavit explaining that it was his understanding, and
Doyle's, that the “crimes of violence”
exception included only statutory offenses that were not
predicated upon the drug activity of the Gregory Stewart
organization and Doyle's involvement with the
organization. (Rec. Doc. 198-4, Lemann affid. Exh. C). Like
Lewis's plea agreement, Doyle's plea agreement is not
so broadly worded so as to allow him to reasonably infer the
type of transactional immunity that he implicitly seeks. The
Government did not expressly agree, as it had in the
Langston case that Doyle cites, to forego additional
charges arising out of the facts forming the basis of the
present  indictment.
(Rec. Doc. 278) (emphasis added).
renewed motion to dismiss is based on the argument that his
particular combination of convictions and acquittals renders
the Count 1 RICO conspiracy a drug trafficking crime that is
not also a crime of violence, at least as to Doyle.
Specifically, Doyle points out that the jury acquitted him of
the Count 3 firearm conspiracy and of all charges arising out
of the Littlejohn Haynes murder-in other words, all of the
offenses that were ostensibly violent in nature. (Rec. Doc.
1011, Doyle verdict form). In light of the acquittals, Doyle
points out that the only other predicate act that the jury
could have found him guilty of committing would have been the
predicate act of illegal distribution of heroin and crack
cocaine, and that basing his RICO conviction on this
particular predicate act would have violated the
Government's promise in 11-107 not to charge him with any
other drug trafficking crimes. Noting that his plea agreement
specifically excepts crimes of violence, Doyle additionally
argues that a RICO conspiracy standing alone is not a crime
of violence, at least from a statutory standpoint because a
RICO conspiracy may consist of predicate acts such as mail
fraud and bribery that have no aspect of violence. Doyle
points out that a plea agreement and any ambiguities within
it must be strictly construed against the Government.
argument that the conviction for RICO conspiracy violates the
drug trafficking aspect of his plea agreement is based on the
erroneous premise that the jury had to have found him guilty
of some predicate act (even if uncharged) in order to convict
him on Count 1. To the contrary, once the Government proves
that two or more people agreed to commit a substantive RICO
offense, the Government need only prove that the defendant
[Doyle] knew of and agreed to the overall objective of the
RICO offense. (Rec. Doc. 1062, Court's Instructions at
36). Unlike the general conspiracy offense, there is no