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July 26, 2001


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


Before the court is the motion of Defendant William Hanhardt to continue the September 4, 2001 trial date. For the following reasons, the motion is denied.


This case, which has previously been before the court on other issues,*fn1 arises out of an alleged organized crime conspiracy to commit jewelry thefts. Currently at issue is Hanhardt's motion to continue the trial. Each of Hanhardt's Co-Defendants has filed a similar motion to continue, where Co-Defendants join in Hanhardt's motion, and raise individual arguments to continue.*fn2 This opinion is limited to Hanhardt's motion to continue. The court does not address any of Co-Defendants' motions, and they remain under advisement. A discussion of the procedural background of the case is necessary to place the issues in context.

The original indictment was returned on October 19, 2000. (R. 1.) The indictment contained two counts stemming from the alleged conspiracy. On the same day of the indictment, attorney Thomas Decker filed his appearance as Hanhardt's counsel. (See R. 10.) Hanhardt was arraigned, and entered a plea of not guilty. (See R. 9.)

The court conducted a status hearing on October 26, 2000, and ordered a discovery conference to be held within ten days pursuant to Local Criminal Rule 16.1. (See R. 32.) The court also set a schedule for pretrial motions, with Defendants' pretrial motions due within 21 days, the Government's response due 14 days thereafter, and Defendants' replies due 7 days thereafter. (See id.) The court then set a jury trial for January 22, 2001. (Id.)

Beginning in late October 2000, and continuing into December 2000, the Government provided copies of discovery materials to Defendants consisting of approximately 21,000 pages of documents. These documents included: (1) applications for and extensions of Title III wire intercepts and pen register i.d. devices, the affidavits submitted in support of the Title III orders, and the Title III orders themselves; (2) transcripts of the wire intercepts; and (3) F.B.I. 302 materials.*fn3

On November 15, 2000, all Defendants filed an emergency joint motion to extend time in which to file pretrial motions, and to continue the January 22, 2001 trial date. (R. 61.) Defendants asked for pretrial motions to be due September 17, 2001, and for an unspecified trial date thereafter. (Id.) The court held a hearing the following day, November 16, 2000. The court and counsel discussed the extent of the documents turned over by the Government, and the amount of time defense counsel needed to review that material. (See R. 88-3, Tr. of Nov. 16, 2000, pp. 5-25.) The court noted that it should not force the case to trial too early, and that it was clear that the original trial date of January 22, 2001 was too early a date. (See id. at 22-23.) The court rejected the suggested date for pre-trial motions, September 17, 2001, but struck the scheduled trial date, granted Defendants until January 19, 2001 to file their pretrial motions, and kept January 22, 2001 as a status hearing date. (See id. at 22-25.)

At the same hearing on November 16th, the Government indicated that it was going to bring a superseding indictment. The following exchange took place concerning the superseding indictment:

MR. SCULLY [Assistant United States Attorney]: Just one other matter your Honor.
There is going to be a minor — there is going to be a superseding indictment, just to correct two errors in the indictment. One has to deal with a reference back to a wrong paragraph, and the other was some language that kind of dangled on at the end of a paragraph.

THE COURT: Well, it will require rearraignment.

MR. SCULLY; It doesn't substantively change, but it might well — it might well require arraignment.

(R. 88-3, Tr. of Nov. 16, 2000, pg. 27.) The Government filed the superseding indictment on November 16, 2000. (R. 56.)

On November 29, 2000, the court rearraigned Defendants on the superseding indictment. (See R. 66 & 67.) Defendants waived their rights to be present for rearraignment. (See id.)

In December 2000, Hanhardt retained new counsel, Thomas Sullivan, the former United States Attorney and a partner at a large law firm.*fn4 On December 15, 2000, the court granted Hanhardt's motion to substitute Thomas Sullivan for Thomas Decker (R. 77), and granted Thomas Decker leave to withdraw his appearance as Hanhardt's counsel. (See R. 78.)

On January 10, 2001, Defendants brought two more motions. The first was a motion to recuse (R. 90), to which the court ordered briefing. Defendants' memorandum in support of the motion to recuse was due January 19, 2001, with the Government's response due January 26, 2001. (See R. 90.) Upon an agreed motion, this schedule was later extended so that Defendants' memorandum was due January 23, 2001, with the Government's response due January 30, 2001. (See R. 94.)

The second January 10, 2001 motion was to extend the time in which to file pretrial motions. (See R. 89.) Defendants asserted that they needed additional time to review discovery materials and prepare their pre-trial motions, and asked that pretrial motions be due no earlier than May 18, 2001. (See id.) The court ruled on this motion from the bench, granting Defendants until March 1, 2001 to file routine pre-trial motions, and until May 18, 2001 to file complex pre-trial motions. (See R. 91.) The court also set briefing schedules for any pre-trial motions filed on these dates. (See id.)

On March 1, 2001, Defendants filed a motion for additional discovery from the Government, seeking further information to use in preparing anticipated motions to suppress evidence obtained from the Title III intercepts. (See R. 116.)

On March 14, 2001, the court denied Defendants' motion to recuse. See Hanhardt, 134 F. Supp.2d at 975-77. On April 20, 2001, Hanhardt filed a petition for mandamus in the Seventh Circuit, asking the Seventh Circuit to order this court's recusal. (See Seventh Cir. Docket in 01-1977.) Three days later, on April 23, 2001, Hanhardt's Co-Defendant Joseph Basinski filed a similar petition for mandamus. (See Seventh Cir. Docket in 01-1999.)

On May 7, 2001, the court held a status hearing, where Hanhardt requested an additional extension of time in which to file complex pre-trial motions. (See Tr. of May 7, 2001, pp. 9-12.) Hanhardt asked that he have until June 29, 2001 to file complex pre-trial motions because of the amount of discovery that the Government had produced. (See id.) After Hanhardt's Co-Defendants joined in the motion for additional time, the court stated:

THE COURT: I'm going to grant the motion in part but deny it in part.
We will continue the date from May 18th to June 1st, which is two additional weeks. And on a very strong showing the Court might grant yet another extension from June 1st, but it will not be enough to say that "There is so much material that we can't quite analyze it all and deal with it in order to meet these deadlines."

(Id. at pg. 12.) The court then advised the parties that it anticipated the case going to trial in the fall of 2001:

THE COURT:. . . .

And if at all possible, on June 1st or close to June 1st the Court will attempt to set a trial date in this case, and I think the objective should be early fall.
So, counsel, when you are preparing your schedules otherwise, keep that in mind.

(Id.) At that time, Hanhardt's counsel informed the court that he was counsel in a civil arbitration that was scheduled ...

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