United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
V. EAGAN JUDGE
before the Court is defendant Kameron Todd Myers's motion
for bifurcated proceeding (Dkt. # 71). Plaintiff has filed a
response in opposition (Dkt. # 74).
August 6, 2019, a grand jury returned an indictment (Dkt. #
2) charging defendant with two counts of carjacking (counts
1, 4); two counts of knowingly carrying, using, and
brandishing a firearm in relation to carjacking (counts 2,
5); and one count of felon in possession of a firearm and
ammunition (count 6). Plaintiff alleges that defendant
brandished a pistol and took a Mercedes automobile by force
from a married couple in a motel room (counts one and two).
Dkt. # 74, at 2. Plaintiff further alleges that, two days
later, defendant again brandished a pistol and took a Jeep
Grand Cherokee from two men at a different motel parking lot
(counts four and five). Id. Plaintiff alleges that
on June 10, 2019, Tulsa police officers arrested defendant
and his co-defendants at a QuikTrip parking lot in Tulsa,
Oklahoma. Id. at 3. The officers allegedly found a
Glock .45 caliber pistol hidden behind the Mercedes car
stereo (count six)-which was the car defendant parked in the
QuikTrip parking lot. Id. The Jeep Grand Cherokee
was allegedly recovered at the same time at the QuikTrip
parking lot. Id.
8(a) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure broadly
allows joinder of offenses in three situations: (1) when the
offenses are of the same or similar character; (2) when the
offenses are based on the same act or transaction; or (3)
when the offenses are connected with or constitute parts of a
common scheme or plan. Fed. R. Crim. P. 8(a). Rule 8 is
construed “broadly to allow liberal joinder to enhance
the efficiency of the judicial system.” United
States v. Johnson, 130 F.3d 1420, 1427 (10th Cir. 1997).
However, even in the absence of a misjoinder under Rule 8(a),
the court may order the separate trials of counts “[i]f
the joinder of offenses . . . appears to prejudice a
defendant or the government . . . .” Fed. R. Crim. P.
14. “In deciding on a motion for severance, the
district court has a duty to weigh the prejudice resulting
from a single trial of counts against the expense and
inconvenience of separate trials.” United States v.
Hollis, 971 F.2d 1441, 1456 (10th Cir. 1992). “The
decision whether to grant or deny severance is within the
sound discretion of the trial court . . . .” United
States v. Cardall, 885 F.2d 656, 667 (10th Cir. 1989).
asks the Court to bifurcate his trial as to his felon in
possession charge in count six. Dkt. # 71, at 1-2. He states
that count six recites six prior felony convictions, one of
which appears to have been dismissed. Id. at 1.
Defendant argues “that both the carjacking and
brandishing counts are highly defendable, but will be
significantly less so if the jury is aware of at least five
prior unrelated convictions alleged to have been committed by
the [d]efendant in the past.” Dkt. # 71, at 1. He asks
the Court to bifurcate the trial, “leaving the issue of
whether the [d]efendant has prior convictions to a second
stage[.]” Id. at 2. Plaintiff argues that
counts one, two, four, five, and six “are similar,
arise out of the same acts and transactions, are part of a
common scheme and plan, and involve the same, or similar,
firearm, [and] the evidence to prove the offenses is
identical.” Dkt. # 74, at 3.
Court finds that count six is of the same or similar
character, arises from the same or similar transaction, and
constitutes part of a common scheme or plan as counts one,
two, four, and five, and therefore is properly joined. The
Tulsa police officers arrested defendant and found the two
allegedly stolen vehicles at the same time and at the same
place. Dkt. # 74, at 3. In the allegedly stolen Mercedes, the
officers found a Glock .45 caliber pistol. Id.
Defendant's felon in possession of a firearm charge
therefore arises from his carjacking and brandishing of a
firearm charges. Further, the Tenth Circuit has upheld
joinder when a defendant is charged with being a felon in
possession of a firearm in addition to the substantive
crimes. See United States v. Jones, 213 F.3d 1253,
1261 (10th Cir. 2000). Any danger of prejudice can be
minimized by a stipulation under Old Chief v. United
States, 519 U.S. 172 (1997), that he was previously
convicted of a felony offense. See Jones, 213 F.3d
at 1261 (stipulating to a prior felony conviction shields
from the jury the prejudicial details of the defendant's
prior activities). The Court can also give a limiting
instruction. See id (finding that a limiting
instruction reduces prejudice as to the joined offense). The
Court finds that, in the interests of judicial economy,
defendant's motion for bifurcated proceeding should be
IS THEREFORE ORDERED that defendant Kameron Todd
Myers's motion for bifurcated ...