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United States v. Taylor

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division

November 13, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
TIMOTHY DA'SHAUN TAYLOR Defendant.

          ORDER

          DAVID C. NORTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the court on defendant Timothy Da'Shaun Taylor's (“Taylor”) motion to compel the discovery of various federal government documents relating to the decision to prosecute him and motion to dismiss the indictment as a violation of the Double Jeopardy clause. For the reasons set forth below, the court denies defendant's motions.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On September 3, 2011, Taylor was involved in an armed robbery of a McDonald's restaurant in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. He planned and conducted the robbery in conjunction with Joseph Whiteside (“Whiteside”) and Deron Moultrie (“Moultrie”). During the robbery, Whiteside shot the manager of the McDonald's in the hand and leg. Taylor drove the car to and from the McDonald's. Taylor entered a guilty plea in state court. As a result of their state court convictions, Whiteside was sentenced to 25 years in prison, Moultrie received a sentence of up to six years under South Carolina's youth offender act, and Taylor received a probationary sentence.

         While investigating Taylor's involvement in a separate crime involving the 2009 disappearance of a teenager, the United States learned of Taylor's 2011 armed robbery and pursued a subsequent federal prosecution. In 2016, Whiteside was indicted on the following federal charges related to the 2011 robbery: (1) conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act Robbery under 18 U.S.C. § 1951; (2) armed robbery under 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a) and 2; and (3) possession and discharge of a weapon during a crime of violence under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A).

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Motion to Dismiss

         Taylor moves to dismiss the indictment, claiming that this federal prosecution is barred by: (1) the Double Jeopardy Clause; (2) the Due Process Clause; (3) the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause. See ECF No. 75. Each of these arguments is without merit, and the motion is denied in full.

         The Double Jeopardy Clause provides that no person shall be “subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life and limb.” U.S. Const. amend. V.

         This clause does not prohibit successive prosecutions by separate sovereigns-such as the federal government and the State of South Carolina-arising out of the same acts:

Every citizen of the United States is also a citizen of a State or territory. He may be said to owe allegiance to two sovereigns, and may be liable to punishment for an infraction of the laws of either. The same act may be an offence or transgression of the laws of both.

Bartkus v. Illinois, 359 U.S. 121, 131 (1959) (quoting Moore v. Illinois, 55 U.S. 13, 20 (1852)). Cooperation between prosecuting sovereigns does not violate the Double Jeopardy clause.[1]

         Taylor contends that “the facts will reveal that the defendant was previously prosecuted and convicted in state court for substantially the same offense.” Def. Mot. 1. What Taylor fails to recognize is that even if he had a state court conviction for the identically defined offense as he is now been indicted in federal court, courts have consistently upheld successive prosecutions by state and federal governments, recognizing the dual sovereignty exception to the double jeopardy doctrine. See e.g., United States v. Sewell, 252 F.3d 647 (2d Cir. 2001) (holding that federal prosecution not barred by prior state acquittal); United States v. Bell, 113 F.3d 1345, 1351 n. 6 (3rd Cir.), cert. denied, 522 U.S. 984 (1997) (holding that federal prosecution not barred by prior state acquittal); United States v. Montgomery, 262 F.3d 233, 238 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 122 S.Ct. 845 (2001) (holding that federal prosecution not barred by prior state guilty plea); United States v. Ray, 238 F.3d 828, 835 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 532 U.S. 1045 (2001) (holding that federal prosecution not barred by prior state conviction); United States v. Johnson, 169 F.3d 1092, 1095-96 (8th Cir.), cert. denied, 528 U.S. 857 (1999) (same); United States v. Male Juvenile, 280 F.3d 1008, 1021 (9th Cir. 2002) (holding that federal prosecution not barred by prior tribal court prosecution); United States v. Trammell, 133 F.3d 1343, 1349-50 (10th Cir. 1998) (holding that federal prosecution not barred by prior state acquittal); United States v. Holland, 985 F.Supp. 587, 594 (D. Md. 1997) (holding that federal prosecution not barred by prior state guilty plea based on same conduct).

         To the extent that Taylor is inviting the court to use this case as a vehicle to reexamine the dual sovereignty doctrine, the court refuses that invitation. See United States v. Barrett, 496 F.3d 1079, 1119 (10th Cir. 2007) (“To the extent [the defendant] questions the continued viability of the dual sovereignty doctrine . . . this court is bound to follow [United States v. Lanza, 260 U.S. 377 (1922)] . . . until such time as the Supreme Court overrules it.”). As explained above, it is ...


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