United States District Court, D. Utah
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S
MOTION TO SEVER COUNTS
STEWART UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to Sever
Counts. For the reasons discussed below, the Court will deny
February 17, 2016, Defendant was charged with conspiracy to
commit Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
(“SNAP”) benefits fraud and conspiracy to commit
money laundering (“Counts One and Two”). On June
9, 2016, Defendant was ordered released. Defendant's
conditions of release required Defendant to appear in Court
as ordered, submit to global position satellite
(“GPS”) monitoring, and to participate in home
detention at a residence in Salt Lake County.
being granted pretrial release, Defendant removed his GPS
monitor and absconded from supervision. On August 17, 2016,
the Court set an evidentiary hearing on Defendants'
Motion to Dismiss for September 6, 2016. The Court later
continued the hearing to October 4, 2016. The Court ordered
Defendants, including Mr. Jeffs, to appear at that hearing.
Defendant failed to appear at that hearing.
was arrested in South Dakota on June 14, 2017. A Superseding
Indictment was issued on June 21, 2017, adding a charge of
failure to appear (“Count Three”). Defendant now
seeks to sever Count Three.
Motion presents two arguments. First, Defendant argues that
Count Three is improperly joined. Second, Defendant argues
that the Court should exercise its discretion to sever Count
first argues that Count Three is improperly joined. Federal
Rule of Criminal Procedure 8(a) states:
The indictment or information may charge a defendant in
separate counts with 2 or more offenses if the offenses
charged-whether felonies or misdemeanors or both-are of the
same or similar character, or are based on the same act or
transaction, or are connected with or constitute parts of a
common scheme or plan.
8 is construed broadly to allow liberal joinder to enhance
the efficiency of the judicial system.” Courts have held
that a failure to appear charge is connected with other
charges when the charges are related in time, the motive for
flight was the avoidance of prosecution, and the
defendant's custody stemmed directly from the underlying
offense. Consideration of these factors shows that
Count Three was properly joined here.
the charges are related in time. The Superseding Indictment
alleges that Defendant and his co-conspirators engaged in
various acts in furtherance of their scheme to defraud
between 2011 and 2016. Defendant's failure to appear
occurred in October 2016 and was the direct result of his
absconding from pretrial supervision, which occurred in June
2016. Second, it can reasonably be inferred that
Defendant's motive for flight was the avoidance of
prosecution. Defendant was on pretrial release for just a
matter of days before he slipped his ankle monitor and fled.
He then remained on the run for nearly a year before his
arrest in South Dakota. Based upon these facts, this
requirement is met. ...