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United States v. Erazo-Santa

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

January 20, 2017



          J.P. Stadtmueller U.S. District Judge

         1. INTRODUCTION

         On November 29, 2016, the defendant Angel Erazo-Santa (“Erazo-Santa”), filed a motion to dismiss for violation of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (“IAD”) and a motion to dismiss for vindictive prosecution. (IAD Motion, Docket #11; Vindictive Prosecution Motion, Docket #12). On December 22, 2016, Magistrate Judge Nancy Joseph issued a Report and Recommendation (“Report”) on the motions, recommending that they be denied. (Docket #19). On January 5, 2017, Erazo-Santa filed an objection to the Report. (Docket #21). The government filed a response and Erazo-Santa replied. (Docket #23 and #24). For the reasons explained below, the Court will overrule the objection and deny both motions.


         Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 59(b) governs dispositive motion practice initiated before magistrate judges. Parties have fourteen days to file “specific written objections” to a magistrate judge's report and recommendation on such a motion. Fed. R. Crim. P. 59(b)(2). Erazo-Santa's objection was timely filed on the fourteenth day. (Docket #21). When reviewing a magistrate's recommendation, the Court is obliged to analyze the issues presented de novo. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). Thus, the Court can “accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate.” Id. In other words, the Court's de novo review of Magistrate Joseph's findings and recommendations is not limited to her legal analysis alone; rather, the Court may also review her factual findings, and accept, reject, or modify those findings as it sees fit based upon the evidence. Id.


         For the purposes of this order, the Court assumes familiarity with the Report.[1] The Court will address the IAD motion first, then the vindictive prosecution motion.

         3.1 Interstate Agreement on Detainers

         As discussed in this Court's June 22, 2016 order in the original Erazo-Santa case (the “Original Order”), Section 9 of the IAD allows for dismissal with or without prejudice upon consideration of,

among others, each of the following factors: the seriousness of the offense; the facts and circumstances of the case which led to the dismissal; and the impact of a reprosecution on the administration of the agreement on detainers and on the administration of justice[.]

18 U.S.C. App. 2, § 9(1). In the Original Order, this Court found that the factors weighed in favor of dismissal without prejudice. United States v. Erazo-Santa, 13-CR-161 (Docket #26 at 4-6). In her instant Report, Magistrate Joseph reviewed those factors in light of the intervening time period, but did not find that anything had changed significantly such as would now require dismissal with prejudice. (Docket #19 at 3-7).

         Erazo-Santa argues that Magistrate Joseph erred in her assessment of the Section 9 factors on two grounds. First, he believes that the three-month delay between the Original Order's dismissal and the government's re-indictment shows a “pattern of negligence” favoring dismissal with prejudice. The Court disagrees. The Court found in the Original Order, and Erazo-Santa now concedes, that there has been no bad faith conduct on the government's part. Despite knowing since the date of the Original Order that he must show a “pattern” of negligence, Erazo-Santa has not pointed Magistrate Joseph or this Court to any other instances of IAD-violative negligence by government counsel in this District. The Court will not conclude that a “pattern” exists solely based on conduct within Erazo-Santa's own case, particularly in light of the lack of bad faith. See United States v. Kelley, 402 F.3d 39, 42 (1st Cir. 2005) (upon finding no pattern of negligence, the court noted that “this would be a materially different case if the United States had acted willfully or if there were a pattern of such violations in this district”); United States v. McKinney, 395 F.3d 837, 841 (8th Cir. 2005).

         Second, Erazo-Santa contends that Magistrate Joseph underappreciated the prejudice that reprosecution has visited on him. In the Original Order, the Court noted that the purpose of the IAD is to address the problem of detainers “produc[ing] uncertainties which obstruct programs of prisoner treatment and rehabilitation.” 18 U.S.C. App. 2, § 2 art. I. Erazo-Santa claims that being reprosecuted in a case including new and more serious charges “defies the goals of the [IAD].” (Docket #21 at 8). He also asserts that he has suffered from “an uncertain future [as a result of the IAD violation] and ultimately the indignity of being charged again shortly after his release[.]” (Docket #24 at 4).

         Erazo-Santa's claims of prejudice have nothing to do with prisoner treatment or rehabilitation. The Court is not at liberty to read Erazo-Santa's concerns into the IAD or transform the IAD into a “get out of jail free card” for reasons it does not contemplate. Though Erazo-Santa views the IAD as a quasi-constitutional supplement to the Speedy Trial Act, that is not its express purpose.[2] Further, in accordance with the third Section 9 factor, the administration of justice is aided, rather than harmed, by reprosecution, as it prevents the defendant from escaping liability for his alleged robbery on a technicality. Ultimately, the Court must apply the language of Section 9 and the IAD's stated ...

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