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United States v. Alatorre

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

March 1, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
ALBA HAYDEE ALATORRE, EDGAR MANUEL SIERRA-SERRANO, and DORIAN JOSSIER CASTILLO, Defendants.

          Erica H. MacDonald, United States Attorney, and Ruth S. Shnider and Amber M. Brennan, Assistant United States Attorneys, for plaintiff.

          Aaron J. Morrison, for defendant Alba Haydee Alatorre.

          Keala C. Ede, for defendant Edgar Manuel Sierra-Serrano.

          Daniel C. Guerrero, MESHBESHER & SPENCE, LTD., for defendant Dorian Jossier Castillo.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING THE UNITED STATES' EMERGENCY MOTION

          JOHN R. TUNHEIM CHIEF JUDGE

         On February 21, 2019, U.S. Magistrate Judge Katherine M. Menendez signed a complaint charging Alba Haydee Alatorre, Edgar Manuel Sierra-Serrano, and Dorian Jossier Castillo (collectively “Defendants”) with possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A). (See Compl. at 1, Feb. 21, 2019, Docket No. 1.)

         Defendants were arrested, and on February 25, 2019, Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau held a preliminary hearing. (See Minute Entries, Feb. 25, 2019, Docket Nos. 11-13.) The United States made an oral motion to amend the Complaint to charge conspiracy rather than possession. (See id.; USA Emergency Mot. at 4, Feb. 26, 2019, Docket No. 14.) Magistrate Judge Rau granted the United States' motion to amend the Complaint but found no probable cause. (See Minute Entries.) As such, he dismissed the Complaint and discharged Defendants. (See id.)

         The United States now brings an emergency motion to appeal Magistrate Judge Rau's decision. (USA Emergency Mot.) Defendants object on the grounds that the Court does not have the authority to hear an appeal of a magistrate judge's dismissal and discharge under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure (“Criminal Rule”) 5.1(f). (Def. Sierra-Serrano Opp., Feb. 27, 2019, Docket No. 15; see Def. Alatorre Opp., Feb. 27, 2019, Docket No. 20; Def. Castillo Opp., Feb. 27, 2019, Docket No. 21.)

         Because the Court can find no basis for its authority to consider such an appeal, the Court will deny the United States' emergency motion.

         DISCUSSION I. PRELIMINARY HEARINGS

         The preliminary hearing at issue in this case is provided for by Criminal Rule 5.1, which states that a defendant charged with an offense other than a petty offense is entitled to a preliminary hearing before a magistrate judge unless:

(1) the defendant waives the hearing;
(2) the defendant is indicted;
(3) the government files an information under Rule 7(b) charging the ...

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