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United States v. Sturdevant

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

January 11, 2018

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Norbert Joseph Sturdevant, Defendant.

          Melinda A. Williams, Assistant United States Attorney, United States Attorney's Office, Minneapolis, MN, on behalf of Plaintiff.

          James S. Becker, Assistant Federal Defender, Office of the Federal Defender, Minneapolis, MN, on behalf of Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          ANN D. MONTGOMERY U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         On December 14, 2017, the undersigned United States District Judge held a status conference regarding five pro se motions filed by Defendant Norbert Joseph Sturdevant (“Sturdevant”): 1) Motion to Quash Indictment/Information [Docket No. 29]; 2) Motion to Dismiss Charges and Indictment [Docket No. 30]; 3) Motion for Grand Jury Array and Proceedings Transcripts [Docket No. 31]; 4) Motion to Record Voir Dire Proceedings [Docket No. 32]; and 5) Motion to Dismiss Because of Unconstitutional Application of Federal Statute [Docket No. 34]. During the conference, the Court granted Sturdevant's Motion to Record Voir Dire Proceedings, and took the remaining motions under advisement. See Min. Entry [Docket No. 37]. For the reasons set forth below, Sturdevant's Motions are denied.

         II. BACKGROUND

         On July 26, 2017, Sturdevant was indicted on a single count of failing to register as a sex offender, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2250(a). See Indictment [Docket No. 1]. On September 5, 2017, Attorney James S. Becker (“Becker”) appeared on behalf of Strudevant. See Notice Appearance/Substitution [Docket No. 12]. Becker filed six motions related to discovery and evidentiary disclosure on Sturdevant's behalf shortly thereafter. See Mots. [Docket Nos. 17-22].

         After those motions were filed, Sturdevant filed the five pro se motions identified above. Because the motions were filed by a represented party, the Court determined that a status conference was necessary to discuss Sturdevant's motions and the status of his representation by counsel.

         During the conference, Sturdevant stated the he filed the motions to assert and preserve his rights and that he was not dissatisfied with his legal representation. The Court explained that represented individuals may not file pro se motions, but that under the circumstances this set of motions would be considered. The Court also provided Sturdevant with an opportunity to supplement his motions with oral argument.

         At the conclusion of the conference, the Court granted Sturdevant's Motion to Record Voir Dire Proceedings and took the remaining motions under advisement. The Court advised Sturdevant that any further motions must be made through his attorney.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Motion to Quash Indictment/Information

         Sturdevant argues that the Indictment must be quashed because the grand jury foreperson was not a federally recognized Native American Indian, in violation of the Sixth Amendment. Sturdevant additionally argues that because there were no Native American Indians in the grand jury, the Indictment must be quashed.

         “The Sixth Amendment . . . guarantee[s] a criminal defendant a grand jury composed of a fair cross-section of the community chosen at random. United States v. Ireland, 62 F.3d 227, 231 (8th Cir. 1995). To prevail on such a claim, the Eighth Circuit requires proof that Native Americans' representation on the grand jury was not fair and reasonable in relation to their representation in the community, and their under-representation resulted from ...


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