United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSON JUDGE
the Court is a Motion to Dismiss Indictment (Doc. 88) urged
by Defendant Keaton L. Copeland during a September 6, 2018
evidentiary hearing. The United States filed an
opposition. (Doc. 96). For the reasons that follow, the
Motion (Doc. 88) is DENIED.
moves the Court to dismiss the Indictment because of
administrative errors in the preparation and service of his
trial subpoenas. (Doc. 95). Defendant does not allege any
prosecutorial misconduct. (Id.). Nor does he
articulate any specific prejudice. (Id.). The facts
that follow are drawn from the Court's September 6, 2018
evidentiary hearing on Defendant's Motion to Continue.
6, 2017, a grand jury returned an Indictment charging
Defendant with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud
and six counts of wire fraud. (Doc. 1). Defendant pleaded not
guilty to all counts, and the Court set a September 10, 2018
trial date. (Doc. 13).
28, 2018, Defendant filed a sealed Motion to Issue Trial
Subpoenas under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 17(b).
(Doc. 66). Defendant's Motion asked the United States
Marshals Service to serve subpoenas on ten individuals and
provide them round-trip transportation, lodging, and per diem
expenses for Wednesday September 12, 2018 through Friday
September 14, 2018. (Id.). Defendant attached to the
Motion the subpoenas he asked the United States Marshals
Service to serve. (Doc. 66-1).
August 1, 2018, the Court entered a sealed Order granting
Defendant's Motion to Issue Trial Subpoenas. (Doc. 67).
The Court's Order specified that the Office of the Clerk
of Court "shall only notice Defense Counsel of the
issuance of this Order," and that the Order "shall
be issued under seal." (Doc. 67, pp. 2-3). The Order
stated in three places that the subpoenas were directed to
defense witnesses. (Id.).
that day, the Office of the Clerk of Court prepared ten
subpoenas. (Doc. 68). The Office of the Clerk of Court then
emailed counsel for Defendant, attaching copies of the
subpoenas that it had prepared. Counsel for Defendant did not
review the subpoenas attached to the email; thus, counsel did
not realize that the subpoenas the Office of the Clerk of
Court prepared differed from those that Defendant requested.
August 27, 2018, the United States Marshals Service filed
five subpoena returns into the open record. (Doc. 72). The
subpoena returns indicated that the subpoenas the Office of
the Clerk of Court prepared, and the United States Marshals
Service served, differed from the subpoenas the Defendant
requested in four ways: (1) the subpoenas did not reflect
that Defendant had requested them; (2) the subpoenas did not
contain the contact information for the Office of the Federal
Public Defender; rather, they contained the contact
information for the Office of the United States Attorney; (3)
the subpoenas did not contain information directing the
witnesses to contact their local United States Marshals
Service office for travel accommodations; and (4) the
subpoenas referenced different times and dates than those
Defendant requested for the appearance of his witnesses.
(Doc. 82, ¶ 5).
that day, Defendant reviewed the subpoena returns and
discovered that the United States Marshals Service served
subpoenas in a different form and with different information
than Defendant requested. Defendant also noticed that the
United States Marshals Service had not filed the subpoena
returns into the record under seal.
August 28, 2018, counsel for Defendant contacted the Office
of the Clerk of Court and the United States Marshals Service
and arranged for the subpoenas to be reissued and re-served
in the form that Defendant requested. The Office of the Clerk
of Court sealed the subpoena returns that had been filed into
the open record the day before.
September 4, 2018, Defendant moved to continue the trial,
arguing that the improper service of his trial subpoenas
violated his right to compulsory process under the Sixth
Amendment to the United States Constitution. (Doc. 82, p. 4).
Defendant requested a continuance "to allow [him] to
obtain proper service on his witnesses and to allow the
witnesses adequate time to contact their local United States
Marshals Service offices" to make travel arrangements.
(Doc. 82, p. 4).
same day, the Court reviewed Defendant's Motion to
Continue and held a status conference to discuss the issues
Defendant raised in his Motion. (Doc. 85). The Court's
staff investigated the preparation and service of
Defendant's trial subpoenas, and the Court held an
evidentiary hearing on the issue on September 6, 2018. (Docs.
the evidentiary hearing, the Court granted Defendant's
Motion to Continue and reset trial for November 5, 2018.
(Doc. 88). Defendant then moved to dismiss the Indictment.
(Id.). Defendant filed a post-hearing ...