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UNITED STATES v. QUINTERO-MEDINA

April 9, 1980

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
ARMANDO QUINTERO-MEDINA ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Marshall, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM ORDER

There are pending in this criminal action applications by five members of the Bar for compensation in excess of $1,000 plus itemized expenses as prescribed as the maximum level of compensation without approval under the Criminal Justice Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3006A(d)(2). Subsection (d)(3) of the Act provides that payment in excess of the statutory maximum may be authorized where the district court certifies that the representation was extended or complex and that the amount in excess of $1,000 is necessary to provide fair compensation to the serving attorney. This certification is then submitted to the Chief Judge of the Circuit, the Honorable Thomas E. Fairchild, and if approved by Judge Fairchild, the excess compensation is paid. For the reasons hereinafter stated, I do certify that the representation provided by the named lawyers to their respective clients was extended and complex and that the amounts which I have certified to be paid to them as fees and expenses are necessary to provide fair compensation for their services.

Specifically, the lawyers, their clients and the amount requested are as follow:

Martha A. Mills, Esq. represented Guadalupe Guzman, who was found not guilty. Ms. Mills claims $3,787.50 for 126¼ hours in court; $6,345.00 for 317¼ hours out of court and $231.90 for itemized expenses, for a total of $10,364.40.

Michael P. Mullen, Esq. represented Pablo Del Otero, who was found not guilty. Mr. Mullen claims $4,012.50 for 133¾ hours in court; $2,395.00 for 119¾ hours out of court and $27.15 for itemized expenses, for a total of $6,434.65.

Michael W. Ford, Esq. represented Guadalupe Luna, who was found not guilty. Mr. Ford claims $3,892.50 for 129¾ hours in court, $2,430.00 for 121½ hours out of court, and $27.68 for itemized expenses, for a total of $6,350.18.

John A. Meyer, Esq. represented Pancho Arias, who was found not guilty. Mr. Meyer claims $3,690.00 for 123 hours in court; $2,860.00 for 143 hours out of court, and $84.90 for itemized expenses, for a total of $6,634.90.

Michael G. Cheronis, Esq. represented Pablo Ortiz-Garcia, against whom all charges were dismissed on motion of the government after the trial had commenced. Mr. Cheronis claims $1,125.00 for 37½ hours in court; $1,350.00 for 67½ hours out of court, and $93.12 for itemized expenses, for a total of $2,568.12.

This action originated as a twenty-defendant Mexico-Chicago-Detroit-Cleveland conspiracy to import, transport and distribute heroin. The eighteen-count indictment was returned on September 10, 1979. Arraignments were conducted on September 11, 13, 14 and 17. Certain of the defendants were in custody. Accordingly, at the first arraignment the case was set for trial on November 13, 1979 well within the limits of the Speedy Trial Act.

Thirteen defendants appeared. One, Carlos Gutierrez-Dominquez, pleaded guilty and testified for the government. The others announced that they would stand trial. However, prior to trial, two pleaded guilty (although they did not testify) and the government dismissed charges against two others. The result was that eight defendants stood trial, although as previously noted one (Ortiz-Garcia) was dismissed during the trial. Of the seven who went to judgment, three were represented by privately-retained counsel; four were represented by lawyers who are the subject of this memorandum.

Three of the defendants who stood trial neither spoke nor understood spoken English. The government's chief witness, who was on the stand nine days, testified in Spanish. The result was that all of the proceedings had to be conducted bilingually with simultaneous translation of all proceedings performed by Ms. Alicia Haas, the official court interpreter, and the use of an electronic amplifying device equipped with headsets. The point is that everything had to be said twice, with the result that the trial lasted twenty-one days.

The subject matter of the prosecution extended over a period of time commencing in 1975 and concluding in 1978. The government's investigation began in 1976 or 1977 and continued down to the return of the indictment. The paper generated by the government in its investigation was voluminous. Altogether more than 1,500 pages of written materials were produced for counsel's examination pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3500.

Pre-trial preparations were made difficult by reason of the fact that while certain of the defendants spoke English, the witnesses who had to be interviewed and the preparations which had to be made for trial were largely conducted in Spanish, with the aid of interpreters.

Preparation was further affected by the fact that many of the individual acts charged against defendants were said to have occurred several years ago. Effective representation required pain-staking reconstruction of the ...


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