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United States v. Reed

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division

January 16, 2020

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
PHILLIP REED (02).

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          JANE J. BOYLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Defendant Phillip Reed's Motion to Sever Counts (Doc. 95). For the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES Reed's motion to sever (Doc. 95).

         I.

         BACKGROUND

         Reed was arrested while driving a stolen vehicle on February 17, 2018. Doc. 104-1, Ex. 1 (Markulec Decl), ¶ 3. Subsequently, the FBI received a tip that individuals inside of Reed's residence were planning to sell drugs to bond Reed out of jail and commit an act of violence against another individual. Id. ¶ 4. As a result, the FBI performed surveillance on Reed's residence, 3230 Trezevant Street. Id. ¶ 5. At this point, the FBI knew that this was Reed's residence and that one of Reed's suspected co-conspirators, Maurice Paul, frequented the home. Id. ¶¶ 5-6. After observing Paul exit Reed's home, the FBI arrested Paul on outstanding charges. Id. ¶ 7. Vicki Gamboa was also present at Reed's home that day. Id. ¶ 8. Upon obtaining Gamboa's consent to search Reed's home, see id. ¶ 10, agents searched Reed's residence and recovered firearms, ammunition, drugs, a computer, a cell phone, digital scales, drug-packaging materials, and a DVR recorder. Id. ¶ 12.

         Roughly two months after the search, Reed was indicted for: (1) Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance; (2) Possession of a Firearm by a Felon; and (4) Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance. Doc. 12, Sealed Indictment.[1]

         In response, Reed filed a motion to sever. See Doc. 95, Mot. to Sever. This motion sought to sever Count (2), Possession of a Firearm by a Felon, from the remaining two counts based on two alternative grounds. First, Reed asserted misjoinder under Rule 8(a), explaining that the connection between the firearm at issue in Count (2) and the drugs at issue in Counts (1) and (4) was “tenuous at best . . . .” Id. at 4. Second, Reed contended that the joinder of Count (2) was prejudicial under Rule 14(a). Id.

         Subsequently, the Government filed a first superseding indictment, followed by a second superseding indictment. See Doc. 100, Superseding Indictment; Doc. 118, Second Superseding Indictment. In the second superseding indictment, the operative indictment in this case, Reed is charged with:

(1) Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon;
(2) Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance;
(3) Using and Carrying a Firearm During and in Relation to a Drug Trafficking Crime;
(4) Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to a Controlled Substance; and
(5) Using and Carrying a Firearm During and in Relation to a Drug ...

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