The opinion of the court was delivered by: H. Bruce Guyton United States Magistrate Judge
All pretrial motions in this case have been referred to the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) for disposition or report and recommendation regarding disposition by the district court as may be appropriate. This matter is before the Court on Defendant Angel Contreras' Motion for Bill of Particulars [Doc. 54]. The United States has responded in opposition at [Doc. 56].
I. POSITION OF THE DEFENDANT
In his Motion For Bill of Particulars [Doc. 54], Mr. Contreras moves the Court to order the government to provide a bill of particulars more clearly identifying a variety of details regarding the nature and circumstances of the criminal conduct alleged in the indictment. Mr. Contreras is named with five other defendants in the redacted indictment, which includes the redacted name(s) of other person(s) charged by the grand jury. [Doc. 39]. Mr. Contreras is charged in the first count and the fourth count of the four-count indictment. In the first count, Mr. Contreras is charged with participation in a heroine distribution conspiracy over the course of seven months. The fourth count charges a parallel count of money laundering. There was also a criminal complaint originally filed in this case at [Doc. 1] which includes a five-page affidavit by Matthew Eldridge of the Drug Enforcement Agency. More than three pages of that document describe the investigation leading to the arrest of some alleged co-conspirators. [Doc. 1-2].
Paraphrasing his request, Mr. Contreras seeks particularity as to: the basis and manner and means, including the date, place, time, and names of other known persons, other than the named co-defendants, that Mr. Contreras allegedly "conspired, confederated and agreed" with in the conspiracies alleged in count one and count four; any overt criminal acts, or other crimes, committed in furtherance of count one or count four.
Mr. Contreras argues that without further information about the government's allegations, he does not have the appropriate information necessary to prepare his defense and will be subject to unfair surprise at trial. Mr. Contreras relies upon Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 7(f) and discussion of caselaw presented in his supporting memorandum at [Doc. 55].
II. POSITION OF THE UNITED STATES
The government responds that the indictment is adequate to provide notice of the nature of the charges, which is all that is required. [Doc. 56]. The government argues that Mr. Contreras' requests seek to discover details of the government's case and evidence that go beyond that to which he is entitled. The government argues that, "[w]hile the defendant is entitled to the pretrial details of the charges against him, he is not entitled to details of the evidence against him beyond the provisions of the rules of discovery." [Doc. 56 at 3] (emphasis in original). It is the government's position that the instant motion seeks discovery of the evidence against Mr. Contreras.
The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure provide broad authority for the Court to order the government to provide a bill of particulars when warranted. Rule 7(f) reads: [t]he court may direct the government to file a bill of particulars. The defendant may move for a bill of particulars before or within 10 days after arraignment or at a later time if the court permits. The government may amend a bill of particulars subject to such conditions as justice requires.
However, the rules do not delineate under what circumstances it is appropriate for the Court to order such remedy. The Sixth Circuit has had occasion to address this issue a number of times and has provided ample guidance for lower courts. "A bill of particulars is meant to be used as a tool to minimize surprise and assist defendant in obtaining the information needed to prepare a defense and to preclude a second prosecution for the same crimes. It is not meant as a tool for the defense to obtain detailed disclosure of all evidence held by the government before trial." United States v. Salisbury, 983 F.2d 1369, 1375 (6th Cir. 1993) (citations omitted). The granting of a bill of particulars is within the court's discretion. See id. (holding that the appellate court reviews the denial of a bill of particulars for an abuse of discretion). The level of detail in the indictment can be a basis for denying the motion for a bill of particulars. Id. Additionally, "a defendant is not entitled to a bill of ...