Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Sawyer

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division

November 7, 2016

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
VINCENT SAWYER, Defendant.

          ORDER ADOPTING THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION AND ORDER AFFIRMING THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S ORDER

          John T. Fowlkes, Jr. United States District Judge.

         Before the Court is Defendant's Appeal and Objections to the Magistrate Judge's Order Denying Defendant's Motion to Suppress Evidence of Other Acts and Motion for Notice of Evidence of Prior Acts filed October 10, 2016. (ECF Nos. 29 & 30). The Court referred Defendant's motions to the Magistrate Judge on August 10, 2016. (ECF No. 22). The Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation on the Defendant's Motion to Suppress Evidence of Other Acts and entered an Order denying the Defendant's Motion for Notice of Evidence of Prior Acts on September 26, 2016. (ECF Nos. 27 & 28). Defendant filed an appeal to the Magistrate Judge's Order and objections to the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation on October 10, 2016. (ECF Nos. 29 & 30).

         After reviewing the Magistrate Judge's Order, the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation, and Defendant's appeal and objections, the Court finds that the Report and Recommendation should be adopted and the Magistrate Judge's Order should be affirmed.

         FACTUAL HISTORY

         For the purposes of this review, the Magistrate Judge accurately summarized the facts of this case. In pertinent part, this case involves the use of false statements regarding Defendant's income and employment for purposes of obtaining loans or credit from various financial institutions. (ECF No. 27). While Defendant has filed an appeal of the Magistrate Judge's order and objections to the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation, none of the appellate claims or objections appear to specifically relate to the Magistrate Judge's factual findings. Therefore, the Court adopts the factual findings of the report and recommendation.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The district court has the authority to refer certain pre-trial matters to a magistrate judge for resolution. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b); Callier v. Gray, 167 F.3d 977, 980 (6th Cir. 1999). These referrals may include non-dispositive pretrial matters, such as a motion to compel or a motion for a protective order concerning discovery. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A). The district court has appellate jurisdiction over any decisions the magistrate judge issues pursuant to such a referral. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72. The referrals may also include dispositive matters such as a motion for summary judgment or a motion for injunctive relief. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). When a dispositive matter is referred, the magistrate judge's duty is to issue proposed findings of fact and recommendations for disposition, which the district court may adopt or not. “The district judge may accept, reject, or modify the recommended disposition; receive further evidence; or return the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3).

         The standard of review that is applied by the district court depends on the nature of the matter considered by the magistrate judge. If the magistrate judge issues a non-dispositive pretrial order, the district court should defer to that order unless it is “found to be clearly erroneous or contrary to law.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a). However, if the magistrate judge order was issued in response to a dispositive motion, the district court should engage in de novo review of all portions of the order to which specific written objections have been made. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a); Baker v. Peterson, 67 Fed. App'x. 308, 311, 2003 WL 21321184 *2 (6th Cir. 2003) (“A district court normally applies a ‘clearly erroneous or contrary to law' standard of review for non[-]dispositive preliminary measures. A district court must review dispositive motions under the de novo standard.”).

         “The clearly erroneous standard applies only to factual findings made by the Magistrate Judge, while [her] legal conclusions will be reviewed under the more lenient contrary to law standard.” E.E.O.C. v. Burlington N. & Santa Fe Ry. Co., 621 F.Supp.2d 603, 605 (W.D. Tenn. 2009) (quotation omitted). Under the clearly erroneous standard for findings of fact, the Court need only consider whether any evidence or showing exists to support the Magistrate Judge's finding and whether the finding was reasonable. Tri-Star Airlines, Inc. v. Willis Careen Corp. of Los Angeles, 75 F.Supp.2d 835, 839 (W.D. Tenn. 1999) (citations omitted). “When examining legal conclusions under the contrary to law standard, the Court may overturn any conclusions of law which contradict or ignore applicable precepts of law, as found in the Constitution, statutes, or case precedent.” Doe v. Aramark Educ. Res., Inc., 206 F.R.D. 459, 461 (M.D. Tenn. 2002) (citing Gandee v. Glaser, 785 F.Supp. 684, 686 (S.D. Ohio 1992), aff'd, 19 F.3d 1432 (6th Cir. 1994) (internal quotation marks omitted)).

         ANALYSIS

         1. Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation

         Defendant is charged with wire fraud affecting a financial institution in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343. The elements of wire fraud are: 1) a scheme to defraud; 2) use of an interstate wire communication in furtherance of the scheme; and 3) intent to deprive a victim of money or property. See United States v. Prince, 214 F.3d 740, 747-48 (6th Cir. 2000). The Magistrate Judge recommended that Defendant's Motion to Exclude Evidence of Other Acts be denied on the basis that the challenged evidence is proper background evidence and intrinsic to the wire fraud charge. Defendant objects to the Magistrate Judge's finding and argues that the prior acts are not background evidence to the single wire fraud charge. Defendant further asserts that the prior acts are extrinsic evidence, clearly showing prohibited propensity to commit unrelated crimes. Also, Defendant argues that the cases that the Magistrate Judge relied on are readily distinguishable from his circumstances.

         Fed. R. Civ. P. 404(b) requires the exclusion of other-acts evidence used for no purpose other than to suggest a party's action in conformity with such prior acts. United States v. Lamar, 466 F. App'x 495, 499 (6th Cir. 2012) (citation omitted). The Sixth Circuit has “held time and again, however, that background evidence, ‘often referred to as ‘res gestae, ' does not implicate Rule 404(b)'” Id. (citing United States v. Hardy, 228 F.3d 745, 748 (6th Cir. 2000). In Lamar, the court affirmed the district court's admission of the defendant's prior bad acts of selling marijuana as background evidence for explaining the context and network of existing relationships in which the defendant conspired to distribute cocaine.

         In United States v. Weinstock, 153 F.3d 272 (6th Cir. 1998), the Sixth Circuit affirmed the district court's admission of the defendant's prior bad acts as part of his pattern of medical ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.