Case: U.S. v. LaVallee

1:00-cr-00481 | U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado

Filed Date: Nov. 2, 2000

Closed Date: Jan. 10, 2011

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On November 2, 2000, a federal grand jury indicted seven officers of the United States Penitentiary in Florence, Colorado. The indictment, superseded in February 2001, charged the defendants with one count of conspiracy to injure, oppress, threaten or intimidate by falsely justifying uses of force against inmates; the remaining nine counts alleged physical assaults of individual inmates, depriving them of their Eighth Amendment right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. The ch…

On November 2, 2000, a federal grand jury indicted seven officers of the United States Penitentiary in Florence, Colorado. The indictment, superseded in February 2001, charged the defendants with one count of conspiracy to injure, oppress, threaten or intimidate by falsely justifying uses of force against inmates; the remaining nine counts alleged physical assaults of individual inmates, depriving them of their Eighth Amendment right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. The charges were filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado under 18 U.S.C. §§ 241 and 242.

On December 15, 2000, each of the seven officers, represented by private counsel, entered "not guilty" pleas. Days before the trial was set to begin in April 2003, the prosecutors asked the court for a continuance because a key witness was ill and unable to come to court to testify. The court (Judge Wiley Y. Daniel) denied the motion, and the prosecutors appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. The Tenth Circuit affirmed the denial of the prosecution's motion, holding that outside circumstances preventing the witness from testifying did not constitute exclusion. U.S. v. LaVallee, 61 Fed. Appx. 631 (10th Cir. 2003).

The trial lasted two months and included testimony from guards, former guards, inmates, prison administrators, and three of the defendants. On June 23 and 24, 2003, after ten days of deliberation, the jury returned verdicts. Two of the seven inmates were convicted of the conspiracy charge. The same two defendants, Mike LaVallee and Rod Schultz, were also convicted of physically assaulting individual inmates. In addition, a third defendant, Robert Verbickas, was convicted of physically assaulting an inmate. The remaining four defendants were acquitted of all charges.

LaVallee, Schultz, and Verbickas each moved to be released from jail pending sentencing. After a hearing on July 1, 2003, the court (Judge Daniel) found that the defendants' conviction of a violent crime precluded their release pending sentencing and denied the motions on July 2, 2003. U.S. v. LaVallee, 269 F. Supp. 1297 (D. Colo. 2003). The defendants appealed the District Court's decision, and the Tenth Circuit affirmed the denial of their motion to be released pending sentencing on September 2, 2003. U.S. v. Verbickas, 75 Fed.Appx. 705 (10th Cir. 2003).

On November 21, 2003, the court (Judge Daniel) sentenced LaVallee and Schultz to incarceration terms of three years and five months; Verbickas' term was two-and-one-half years.

Parts of the docket are missing, but it appears that the Schultz, LaVallee, and Verbicks moved for a new trial. On December 10, 2004, the district court denied the request. The defendants appealed the decision later that month. The government also cross-appealed, asserting that the sentences were insufficient.

On May 17, 2005, Schultz filed a motion to vacate his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Judge Wiley Y. Daniel denied the motion on May 20, 2005.

On October 21, 2005, Schultz filed a motion for a new trial based on newly discovered evidenced. It was denied in August of 2006.

On February 28, 2006, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued their opinion concerning Schultz, LaVallee, and Verbickas (appellants) and the government's cross-appeal. Appellants claimed their constitutional right to a fair trial was violated, that there were erroneous jury instructions, and that they were denied their due process right through discovery errors. They also appealed their sentences. Judges Tacha, Lucero, and Briscoe, in concurrence, affirmed the Appellants' convictions and sentences. They found that the Appellants suffered no constitutional defect in their trials, that the erroneous juror instructions were harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, and that there were no errors in the discovery rulings. The court also upheld the sentences. 439 F.3d 670.

On April 19, 2007, Schultz filed a motion to vacate his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 on grounds that he was denied due process and effective assistance of counsel. On June 28, 2007, he moved for leave to interview trial jurors, arguing that it would determine if there had been a reasonable probability that their verdicts would have been different had they heard a witness testify. On October 30, 2008, the court denied it, asserting that it was a "fishing expedition" in a trial that had occurred over five years ago. 2008 WL 4787564. Schultz responded by filing a motion for reconsideration of the order denying leave to interview trial jurors.

On June 17, 2009, Judge Daniel denied Schultz' motion for reconsideration and the motion to vacate. He found that the motion for reconsideration was not based on newly discovered evidence and thus still amounted to a fishing expedition. He also found that the motion to vacate was based on claims that had already been sufficiently heard and thus did not warrant an additional evidentiary hearing. Schultz filed an appeal of the order on June 26, 2009.

On July 8, 2010, the Tenth Circuit of Appeals issued their opinion. Judges Holmes, Brorby and Ebel affirmed the holding of the district court, finding that there was no reasonable probability that the testimony of a witness would have changed the outcome. 385 Fed.Appx. 842.

Schultz then filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court on November 24, 2010. On January 10, 2011, the Supreme Court denied the writ of certiorari.

The case is closed.

Summary Authors

Laura Uberti (6/1/2006)

Cedar Hobbs (3/13/2020)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4770027/parties/united-states-v-lavallee/


Judge(s)

Briscoe, Mary Beck (Kansas)

Brorby, Wade (Wyoming)

Daniel, Wiley Young (Colorado)

Ebel, David M. (Colorado)

Kelly, John David (North Dakota)

Lucero, Carlos F. (Colorado)

McConnell, Michael W. (Utah)

Murphy, Michael R. (Minnesota)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Blumberg, Mark (District of Columbia)

Gellert, Karl N. (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Briscoe, Mary Beck (Kansas)

Brorby, Wade (Wyoming)

Daniel, Wiley Young (Colorado)

Ebel, David M. (Colorado)

Kelly, John David (North Dakota)

Lucero, Carlos F. (Colorado)

McConnell, Michael W. (Utah)

Murphy, Michael R. (Minnesota)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Blumberg, Mark (District of Columbia)

Gellert, Karl N. (District of Columbia)

Mydans, Robert E. (Colorado)

Russel, Robert M. (Colorado)

Silver, Jessica Dunsay (District of Columbia)

Suthers, John W. (Colorado)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Banta, Richard James (Colorado)

Covino, James S. (Colorado)

Hammond, Thomas James (Colorado)

Holland, Brian K. (Colorado)

MacFarlane, Neil E. (Colorado)

Sears, Daniel Joseph (Colorado)

Smith, Daniel T. (Colorado)

Stanton, Boston Henry Jr. (Colorado)

Toray, Eric Richard (Colorado)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Tacha, Deanell Reece (Kansas)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket (PACER)

Jan. 10, 2011 Docket

Order and Judgment

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

61 Fed.Appx. 631

April 9, 2003 Order/Opinion

Order

269 F.Supp.2d 1297

July 2, 2003 Order/Opinion

Order and Judgment

U.S. v. Verbickas

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

75 Fed.Appx. 705

Sept. 2, 2003 Order/Opinion

Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

439 F.3d 670

Feb. 28, 2006 Order/Opinion
1679

Order

USA v. Schultz

2006 WL 2475299

Aug. 24, 2006 Order/Opinion
1695

Order

U.S. v. Schultz

2008 WL 4787564

Oct. 30, 2008 Order/Opinion
1707

Order

U.S. v. Schultz

June 17, 2009 Order/Opinion
1730

Order and Judgment

USA v. Schultz

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

385 Fed.Appx. 842

July 8, 2010 Order/Opinion

Resources

Title Description External URL

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4770027/united-states-v-lavallee/

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link
1679

ORDER denying 1661 Motion for New Trial as to Rod Schultz (2); and denying 1678 Motion for Discovery. Signed by Judge Wiley Y. Daniel on 8/24/06. (mjg, )

Aug. 24, 2006 RECAP
1681

ORDER as to Rod Schultz re 1680 MOTION to Vacate under 28 U.S.C. 2255 filed by Rod Schultz: United States Attorney on or before 5/11/07, shallfile an answer or other pleading directed to the Motion pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings. Signed by Judge Wiley Y. Daniel on 4/27/07. (mjg, )

April 27, 2007 RECAP
1695

ORDER denying 1688 Motion for Leave to Interview Trial Jurors and to Stay the Proceedings until Such Interviews Can Be Completed as to Rod Schultz: Defendant may, however, file a reply in support of his Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 within 20 days of this Order. Signed by Chief Judge Wiley Y. Daniel on 10/30/08. (mjg, )

Oct. 30, 2008 RECAP
1712

ORDER denying 1709 Motion for Certificate of Appealability as to Rod Schultz (2) by Chief Judge Wiley Y. Daniel on 07/06/09. (bjrsl, )

July 6, 2009 RECAP
1727

Minute ORDER denying as moot 1714 MOTION for Reconsideration of Order Denying Certificate of Appealability filed by Rod Schultz(2) in light of the fact that the 10th Circuit granted a certificate of appealability on 12/22/09, by Chief Judge Wiley Y. Daniel on 01/06/10. (bjrsl, )

Jan. 6, 2010 RECAP

State / Territory: Colorado

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: Nov. 2, 2000

Closing Date: Jan. 10, 2011

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

United States Department of Justice (Criminal prosecution)

Plaintiff Type(s):

U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Mike LaVallee, Private Entity/Person

Rod Schultz, Private Entity/Person

Robert Verbickas, Private Entity/Person

U.S. Penitentiary (Florence), Federal

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Criminal Conspiracy to Violate Federal Rights, 18 U.S.C. § 241

Criminal Violation of Federal Rights Under Color of Law, 18 U.S.C. § 242

Habeas Corpus, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241-2253; 2254; 2255

Special Case Type(s):

Criminal

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Criminal Conviction

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Issues

General:

Assault/abuse by staff

Disciplinary procedures

Affected Gender:

Male

Type of Facility:

Government-run