U.S. v. Johnson, No. CR 01-3046-MWB.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
Writing for the CourtBennett
Citation354 F.Supp.2d 939
Docket NumberNo. CR 01-3046-MWB.
Decision Date03 January 2005
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff, v. Angela JOHNSON, Defendant.
354 F.Supp.2d 939
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Angela JOHNSON, Defendant.
No. CR 01-3046-MWB.
United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Central Division.
January 3, 2005.

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Charles J. Williams, Patrick J. Reinert, U.S. Attorney's Office, Cedar Rapids, IA, Thomas Henry Miller, Des Moines, IA, for Plaintiff.

Alfred E. Willett, Terpstra, Epping & Willett, Cedar Rapids, IA, Dean A. Stowers, Rosenberg, Stowers & Morse, Robert R. Rigg, Des Moines, IA, Patrick J. Berrigan, Watson & Dameron, LLP, Kansas City, MO, for Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER REGARDING PRETRIAL MOTIONS

BENNETT, Chief Judge.


 TABLE OF CONTENTS
                 I. BACKGROUND .............................................................946
                 A. The Original And Superseding Indictments ............................946
                 B. The Co-Defendant's Trial ............................................948
                 C. The Pretrial Motions In Johnson's Case ..............................950
                 II. LEGAL ANALYSIS .........................................................950
                 A. The Government's Motions ............................................950
                 1. The motion to exclude alibi defense ..............................950
                 a. Arguments of the parties ......................................950
                 b. Analysis ......................................................951
                 i. Rule 12.1 .................................................951
                 ii. Johnson's non-compliance ..................................951
                 iii. The appropriate remedy ....................................953
                 2. The motion for an anonymous jury .................................955
                 a. Arguments of the parties ......................................955
                 b. Analysis ......................................................955
                 3. The motion to admit evidence of defendant's attempted suicide ....956
                 a. Arguments of the parties ......................................957
                 b. Analysis ......................................................957
                 4. The motion to admit statements by decedents ......................959
                 a. The statements in question ....................................959
                 i. Statements by DeGeus ......................................959
                 ii. Statements by Nicholson ...................................960
                 b. Admissibility of DeGeus's statements ..........................960
                 i. Arguments of the parties ..................................960
                 ii. Analysis ..................................................962
                 c. Admissibility of Nicholson's statements .......................969
                 i. Arguments of the parties ..................................969
                 ii. Analysis ..................................................969
                 5. The motion to exclude evidence on aspects of the death penalty ...970
                 a. Arguments of the parties ......................................970
                 b. Analysis ......................................................971
                 i. Jury selection v. "guilt phase" ...........................971
                 ii. Death penalty issues that "arose" in conversations ........972
                 iii. Deterrent effect of the death penalty .....................972
                 6. The motion to exclude evidence of Cutkomp's instances of public
                 exposure ........................................................974
                 a. Arguments of the parties ......................................974
                 b. Analysis ......................................................975
                 7. The motion to admit a replica firearm ............................976
                 a. Additional factual background .................................976
                 b. Arguments of the parties ......................................976
                 c. Analysis ......................................................976
                

Page 946

 B. Johnson's Motions ...................................................978
                 1. The motion for change of venue ...................................978
                 a. Arguments of the parties ......................................978
                 b. Analysis ......................................................980
                 i. Applicable law ............................................980
                 ii. Application of the law ....................................985
                 2. The motion for factual findings ..................................989
                 a. Arguments of the parties ......................................989
                 b. Analysis ......................................................990
                 3. The motion in limine for evidence suppressed as to the first
                 indictment ......................................................991
                 a. Arguments of the parties ......................................991
                 b. Analysis ......................................................992
                 4. The motion to suppress McNeese's evidence ........................993
                 a. Additional evidence ...........................................993
                 b. Arguments of the parties ......................................993
                 c. Analysis ......................................................994
                 5. Request for Honken trial transcript ..............................995
                III. CONCLUSION .............................................................995
                

Four and one-half years after the first of two indictments against the defendant, and more than eleven years after the defendant allegedly participated in the five murders upon which most of the charges against her are based, the defendant's trial is now merely months away. Therefore, the court must now resolve the first round of pretrial motions in this case, including some motions that were held in abeyance during the trial of a co-defendant, who was convicted and given a death sentence by a jury, as well as several newly-filed motions. These cases, and the companion case against the co-defendant, have engendered unprecedented publicity in Iowa, in part, because they are federal death-penalty cases in a state that does not, itself, have the death penalty. For these and other reasons, the government moved for an "anonymous" jury and the defendant moved for a change of venue. Numerous other motions are also before the court. Even where the parties' motions seem to tread familiar ground, already traversed in the co-defendant's case, differences in circumstances may make the path to resolution of those motions anything but clear, and entirely new issues may place the court and the parties in terra incognita.

I. BACKGROUND
A. The Original And Superseding Indictments

In two separate indictments, a grand jury charged defendant Angela Johnson with a variety of charges arising, principally, from her alleged involvement in the murders in 1993 of five witnesses to the drug-trafficking activities of Johnson's sometime boyfriend, Dustin Honken. The grand jury handed down the first seven-count indictment on July 26, 2000, and the second ten-count indictment on August 30, 2001. On April 25, 2002, the government filed its original notice in each case of its intent to seek the death penalty on all of the charges against Johnson relating to the murder of witnesses, that is, Counts 1 through 5 of the first indictment and all ten of the charges in the second indictment. Those notices identified the statutory aggravating factors that the government contends warrant the imposition of the death penalty under the applicable death penalty statutes.

On August 23, 2002, the government filed superseding indictments in both cases against Johnson. The superseding indictment in the first case against Johnson,

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Case No. CR 00-3034-MWB, reiterated and expanded the seven counts of the original indictment. It charged the following offenses: five counts of aiding and abetting the murders of witnesses Gregory Nicholson, Lori Duncan (Nicholson's friend), Amber Duncan and Kandi Duncan (Lori Duncan's daughters, ages 6 and 10, respectively), and Terry DeGeus, respectively, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1512(a)(1)(A) and (C), 1512(a)(2)(A) or 1513(a)(1)(A) and (C),1 1111, and 2; one count of aiding and abetting the solicitation of the murders of witnesses Timothy Cutkomp and Daniel Cobeen, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 373(a)(1) and 2; and one count of conspiracy to interfere with all seven witnesses, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371.

The August 23, 2002, superseding indictment in Case No. CR 01-3046-MWB, like the original indictment in that case, charged Johnson with five counts of killing witnesses while engaging in a drug-trafficking conspiracy ("conspiracy murder"), in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A) and 18 U.S.C. § 2; and five counts of killing the same witnesses in furtherance of a continuing criminal enterprise ("CCE murder"), also in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A) and 18 U.S.C. § 2. More specifically, Counts 1 through 5 of the superseding indictment in Case No. CR 01-3046-MWB charged that, on or about July 25, 1993, or in the case of Terry DeGeus, on or about November 5, 1993, while engaging in an offense punishable under 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A) and 846, relating to a conspiracy to manufacture and distribute 100 grams or more of pure methamphetamine and 1000 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine between 1992 and 2000, Angela Johnson intentionally killed and counseled, commanded, induced, procured, and caused and aided and abetted the intentional killing of Gregory Nicholson, Lori Duncan, Amber Duncan, Kandi Duncan, and Terry DeGeus, respectively, and that such killings resulted, all in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A) and 18 U.S.C. § 2. Counts 6 through 10 of the superseding indictment charged that, on or about July 25, 1993, or in the case of Terry DeGeus, on or about November 5, 1993, while working in furtherance of a continuing criminal enterprise between 1992 and 2000 in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 848(c), Angela Johnson intentionally killed and counseled, commanded, induced, procured, and caused and aided and abetted the intentional killing of...

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16 practice notes
  • Ware v. Harry, Case No. 06-CV-10553-DT.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Michigan)
    • April 21, 2008
    ...v. Hendricks, 395 F.3d 173, 179 (3d Cir.2005); see also, Horton v. Allen, 370 F.3d 75, 83-84 (1st Cir.2004); United States v. Johnson, 354 F.Supp.2d 939, 964 (N.D.Iowa 2005); United States v. Savoca, 335 F.Supp.2d 385, 391-92 (S.D.N.Y.2004). Regardless of whether this reading of the Crawfor......
  • Strayhorn v. Booker, Case No. 08-10345.
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    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Michigan
    • June 18, 2010
    ...v. Hendricks, 395 F.3d 173, 179 (3d Cir.2005); see also, Horton v. Allen, 370 F.3d 75, 83-84 (1st Cir.2004); United States v. Johnson, 354 F.Supp.2d 939, 964 (N.D.Iowa 2005); United States v. Savoca, 335 F.Supp.2d 385, 391-92 (S.D.N.Y.2004). Regardless of whether this reading of the Crawfor......
  • Kowalak v. Scutt, Case No. 01-cv-40009.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Michigan)
    • May 3, 2010
    ...v. Hendricks, 395 F.3d 173, 179 (3d Cir.2005); see also, Horton v. Allen, 370 F.3d 75, 83-84 (1st Cir.2004); United States v. Johnson, 354 F.Supp.2d 939, 964 (N.D.Iowa 2005); United States v. Savoca, 335 F.Supp.2d 385, 391-92 (S.D.N.Y.2004). Regardless of whether this reading of the Crawfor......
  • U.S. v. Johnson, No. CR 01-3046-MWB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • February 18, 2005
    ...federal death-penalty case, some of which required the court and the parties to explore terra incognita. See United States v. Johnson, 354 F.Supp2d 939 (N.D.Iowa 2005). Several more pretrial motions, filed subsequently, Page 1049 mooted by the government's voluntary dismissal of the two non......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
16 cases
  • Ware v. Harry, Case No. 06-CV-10553-DT.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Michigan)
    • April 21, 2008
    ...v. Hendricks, 395 F.3d 173, 179 (3d Cir.2005); see also, Horton v. Allen, 370 F.3d 75, 83-84 (1st Cir.2004); United States v. Johnson, 354 F.Supp.2d 939, 964 (N.D.Iowa 2005); United States v. Savoca, 335 F.Supp.2d 385, 391-92 (S.D.N.Y.2004). Regardless of whether this reading of the Crawfor......
  • Strayhorn v. Booker, Case No. 08-10345.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Michigan
    • June 18, 2010
    ...v. Hendricks, 395 F.3d 173, 179 (3d Cir.2005); see also, Horton v. Allen, 370 F.3d 75, 83-84 (1st Cir.2004); United States v. Johnson, 354 F.Supp.2d 939, 964 (N.D.Iowa 2005); United States v. Savoca, 335 F.Supp.2d 385, 391-92 (S.D.N.Y.2004). Regardless of whether this reading of the Crawfor......
  • Kowalak v. Scutt, Case No. 01-cv-40009.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Michigan)
    • May 3, 2010
    ...v. Hendricks, 395 F.3d 173, 179 (3d Cir.2005); see also, Horton v. Allen, 370 F.3d 75, 83-84 (1st Cir.2004); United States v. Johnson, 354 F.Supp.2d 939, 964 (N.D.Iowa 2005); United States v. Savoca, 335 F.Supp.2d 385, 391-92 (S.D.N.Y.2004). Regardless of whether this reading of the Crawfor......
  • U.S. v. Johnson, No. CR 01-3046-MWB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • February 18, 2005
    ...federal death-penalty case, some of which required the court and the parties to explore terra incognita. See United States v. Johnson, 354 F.Supp2d 939 (N.D.Iowa 2005). Several more pretrial motions, filed subsequently, Page 1049 mooted by the government's voluntary dismissal of the two non......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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