United States v. Venable, No. 11-4216 (4th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Defendant was indicted on the charge of possessing a firearm while being a felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1). Defendant, an African American, moved to dismiss the indictment, claiming that the U.S. Attorney's Office selected him for prosecution under a federal-state law enforcement initiative known as Project Exile because of his race, in violation of the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause. On appeal, defendant requested that the court reverse the district court's order denying his motion for discovery and remand the case for discovery and an evidentiary hearing. The court held that defendant failed to make a credible showing that a similarly situated defendant of another race had evaded prosecution under Project Exile in order to obtain discovery on his selective prosecution claim and that defendant had failed to carry his burden of producing some evidence to make a credible showing of both discriminatory effect and intent. Accordingly, the judgment of the district court was affirmed.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on February 15, 2012.