United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Western Division
JEFFREY L. VIKEN CHIEF JUDGE.
jury indicted defendant Moses Crowe on charges of carjacking
resulting in serious bodily injury, discharging a firearm
during and in relation to a crime of violence and possessing
a firearm as a prohibited person. (Docket 2). The indictment
also named two co-defendants, Saul Crowe and Ranson Long
Pumpkin. Id. Co-defendant Saul Crowe pled guilty and
the court accepted his guilty plea. (Dockets 74 & 80).
Defendant now moves to sever his case for trial from Ranson
Long Pumpkin pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure
14.(Docket 97). The government resists the
motion. (Docket 99). For the reasons given below, the court
denies defendant's motion.
a defendant moves for a severance, a district court must
first determine whether joinder is proper under Federal Rule
of Criminal Procedure 8.” United States v.
Darden, 70 F.3d 1507, 1526 (8th Cir. 1995). “The
propriety of joinder is to be determined from the face of the
indictment. . . . The factual allegations in the indictment
must be accepted as true.” United States v.
Massa, 740 F.2d 629, 644 (8th Cir. 1984) (internal
citations omitted), overruled on other grounds by United
States v. Inadi, 475 U.S. 387 (1986). “If joinder
is proper, the court still has discretion to order a
severance under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 14. These
rules are to be ‘liberally construed in favor of
joinder.' ” Id. (quoting United States
v. Rimell, 21 F.3d 281, 288 (8th Cir. 1994)).
Rule 14, a district court may sever a defendant's trial
from the trial of co-defendants if it appears that a
defendant . . . is prejudiced by a joinder of offenses or of
defendants in an indictment . . . or by such joinder for
trial together.” Darden, 70 F.3d at 1527 (internal
quotation marks and brackets omitted). “When joinder is
proper under Rule 8, the defendant seeking a severance has
the burden to demonstrate how the joint trial prejudiced his
or her right to a fair trial.” Id. (citations
omitted). “To show real prejudice, the defendant must
establish that ‘(a) his defense is irreconcilable with
that of his co-defendant or (b) the jury will be unable to
compartmentalize the evidence as it relates to the separate
defendants.' ” United States v. Davis, 534
F.3d 903, 916-17 (8th Cir. 2008) (quoting United
States v. Mickelson, 378 F.3d 810, 818 (8th Cir.
in the weight of the evidence between the codefendants is not
a sufficient reason for severance.” United States
v. Bordeaux, 84 F.3d 1544, 1547 (8th Cir. 1996)
(citations omitted). “[T]he mere fact that one
defendant tries to shift blame to another defendant does not
mandate separate trials.” United States v.
Shivers, 66 F.3d 938, 940 (8th Cir. 1995) (internal
quotation marks and citations omitted). “[T]he
existence of antagonistic defenses does not require severance
unless the defenses are actually irreconcilable. . . . Put
simply, mere hostility between defendants or one
defendant's attempt ‘to save himself at the expense
of another' codefendant is not a sufficient ground to
require severance.” Id. (quoting United
States v. Boyd, 610 F.2d 521, 526 (8th Cir. 1979)).
court first finds it is proper to join defendant's and
Mr. Long Pumpkin's cases for trial under Federal Rule of
Criminal Procedure 8. That rule states:
The indictment or information may charge 2 or more defendants
if they are alleged to have participated in the same act or
transaction, or in the same series of acts or transactions,
constituting an offense or offenses. The defendants may be
charged in one or more counts together or separately.
Fed. R. Crim. P. 8(b). The indictment here alleges that both
defendant and Mr. Long Pumpkin participated in the same
carjacking in Rapid City on October 13, 2017. (Docket 2 at p.
1-2). They also both discharged a firearm during the
carjacking, according to the affidavit. Id. at p. 2.
The indictment does separately allege defendant possessed a
firearm as a felon on October 25, but he does not assert that
charge should be severed from the carjacking and firearm
discharge offenses, nor does he argue this additional firearm
charge constitutes improper joinder of his case with Mr. Long
Pumpkin's. Id. at p. 3. Defendant and Mr. Long
Pumpkin are properly joined in ...