IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
December 22, 2006
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
QUAWNTAY ADAMS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Herndon, District Judge
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
Before the Court are two motions filed by defendant Quawntay Adams. Previously, in an Order issued September 8, 2006 (Doc. 266), the Court granted Defendant's oral motion to reopen his Motion to Dismiss Counts One and Two of the Third Superseding Indictment (Doc. 253) in order to supply the Court with supplemental case law regarding one of the arguments made in the Motion. Thus, the Court now again considers Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 253), focusing on Defendant's Supplemental Memorandum (Doc. 284). The Government has filed a supplemental opposing Response (Doc. 285), to which Defendant has replied (Doc. 292). Additionally, defendant Adams filed a Motion for Release from Custody Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3164 (Doc. 287), which has also been timely opposed by the Government (Doc. 291). For the reasons as stated in this Order, as well as reasons stated on the record at the September 5, 2006 hearing (Docs. 260, 261 & 286) on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 253), Defendant's Motions are hereby denied. In making this determination, the Court also deems a hearing upon the merits unnecessary.
I. Defendant's Motion to Dismiss - Supplemental Grounds
In his Supplemental Memorandum, defendant Adams maintains his challenge that more than seventy (70) non-excludable days have elapsed under the Speedy Trial Act (Doc. 284). This is the same overall argument made in his original Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 253), which was thoroughly briefed and argued before the Court. The Court denied the Motion, for reasons stated on the record (Doc. 261), finding that the various Orders granting continuance of trial, challenged by Defendant, did not violate the requirements of the Speedy Trial Act and the time was therefore excludable under the Act (Doc. 286 -- see Transcript, Motion to Dismiss Hearing, 9/5/2006, 30:19 - 34:5).
1. When the Speedy Trial Clock Begins to Run
The main point of contention, albeit the parties now appear to take altered stances, is when exactly the 70-day speedy trial clock begins to run for defendant Adams. Defendant asserts, in his Supplemental Memorandum, that the speedy trial clock commenced, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3161(c)(1), on the date of his Indictment, which was February 18, 2004 (Doc. 30). Although the Government did not agree with this interpretation of § 3161(c)(1) at the September 5, 2006 hearing, in its Response (Doc. 285, pp. 2 & 4), it now also acknowledges this as the starting point. Reviewing Seventh Circuit case law, the Court finds § 3161(c)(1) requires the running of the speedy trial clock to commence at either (1) the indictment; or (2) the defendant's appearance before the judge of the court in which the charge is pending, whichever is the latter. See United States v. Owokoniran, 840 F.2d 373, 374 (7th Cir. 1987)("Furthermore, the statutory language [of § 3161(c)(1)] clearly contemplates that the indictment can be the 'last occur[ring]' step, triggering the running of the 70-day period. Thus, where, as here, the defendant has been arrested and appeared before a magistrate prior to his indictment, the time commences running with the indictment.")(internal citations omitted).
However, this is somewhat of a moot point due to the fact that co-defendants were later added via superseding indictments. Although the Speedy Trial Act provides that a defendant's trial must "commence within seventy days from the filing date . . . of the information or indictment, or from the date the defendant has appeared before a judicial officer of the court in which such charge is pending, whichever date last occurs," there are a number of exclusions which may toll the running of the clock and do not, therefore, count against the seventy days. 18 U.S.C. §§ 3161(c)(1) & (h). Most notably for this case, the seventy days did not begin to run until all defendants had been arraigned. Henderson v. United States, 476 U.S. 321, 323 n. 2 (1986); see also Owokoniran, 840 F.2d at 375.*fn1
Given this standard, and because the Superseding Indictments added new co-defendants, the speedy trial clock for defendant Adams did not begin running until the day of the arraignment of his last co-defendant, Johnny Johnson, was joined in this case, via the Second Superseding Indictment on June 3, 2005 (Docs. 155 & 156). See Henderson, 476 U.S. at 323 n.2 ("All defendants who are joined for trial generally fall within the speedy trial computation of the latest co-defendant. See 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7). Once Bell [the latest added defendant] was joined with petitioners in the . . .superseding indictment, their 70-day period was measured with respect to his."). Although Defendant argues against such a calculation, the Court feels the guidance provided by the United States Supreme Court and Seventh Circuit is enough upon which to base this determination. Beginning the speedy trial clock at this point would effectively moot many of the remaining arguments advanced by defendant Adams. However, the Court feels it important to address the legal issues presented, in order to support its finding of an alternative speedy trial count if it is later determined that the speedy trial clock for defendant Adams began to run on the date of his Indictment, instead.
2. The Magistrate's Discovery Order
Defendant argues that the Government is incorrect in claiming that the ten-day pretrial motion filing period authorized by the Pretrial Discovery Order (Doc. 39), entered by the Magistrate Judge on March 2, 2004, is excludable time (Doc. 284, pp. 5-7). Yet, it appears that the Seventh Circuit disagrees with Defendant's assertion. See United States v. Garrett, 45 F.3d 1135, 1138 (7th Cir. 1995)(holding that the 10-day period established by the magistrate judge for filing of pretrial motions was "clearly excludable from the Speedy Trial Act" even though no pretrial motions were ever filed during this time frame)(citing United States v. Piontek 861 F.2d 152, 154 (7th Cir. 1988) and United States v. Montoya, 827 F.2d 143, 153 (7th Cir. 1987)).Therefore, the Court finds that the Government's calculation in this regard -- finding that the ten days pursuant to the Pretrial Discovery Order, from 3/2/2004 to 3/12/2004 -- amounts to ten (10) days of excludable time within defendant Adam's speedy trial calculation.
3. Pretrial Motions of Co-defendants
Additionally, Defendant does not agree that certain pretrial motions (Docs. 44-46, 48 & 53), filed by co-defendant Pedro Barrios-Casteneda, ascribe excludable time for all Defendants in the case (Doc. 284, p. 9; Doc. 292, pp. 1-2). Defendant does not believe this proper under 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7) unless "the delay is reasonable" (Doc. 292, p. 2). Defendant also believes that motions to continue trial filed solely by other co-defendants (such as Nicole Bowline -- see Docs. 122 & 139) should not serve to ascribe excludable time to his speedy trial calculation. In support, Defendant cites to United States v. Neville, 82 F.3d 750, 763 (7th Cir. 1996). Although Nevillenoted that such excludable delay pertaining to one co-defendant must be "reasonable" in order to be ascribed to all other co-defendants, the Seventh Circuit went on to find that the delay was reasonable, and recognized the "'strong congressional preference for joint trials and an intention that delays resulting from the joinder of co-defendants be liberally construed.'" Id. (quoting United States v. Dennis, 737 F.2d 617, 621 (7th Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 469 U.S. 868, 105 S.CT. 215 (1984)).
The Government opposes this argument, explaining § 3161(h)(1)(F) allows an exclusion for delay resulting from a pretrial motion and that this exclusion can be ascribed to co-defendants via § 3161(h)(7). This interpretation has been upheld by the Seventh Circuit in United States v. Baker, 40 F.3d 154, 159 (7th Cir. 1994)("'Under § 3161(h)(7), the excludable delay of one defendant may be ascribed to all co-defendants in the same case, absent severance.'")(quoting United States v. Tanner, 941 F.2d 574, 580 (7th Cir.1991), cert. denied, 502 U.S. 1102, 112 S.Ct. 1190 (1992)). Further, the Seventh Circuit has upheld the notion that excludable time due to a co-defendant's motion for continuance of trial can be ascribed to other co-defendants. See, e.g., United States v. Mustread, 42 F.3d 1097, 1106 (7th Cir. 1994).
Considering Defendant's argument, the Court believes precedent supports a holding that excludable time caused by the filing of a pretrial motion by a co-defendant, such as the ones previously noted in this Order, are properly ascribed to defendant Adams for his speedy trial calculation. Further, the Court finds that the excludable delay was reasonable, as the motions were not frivolous and the Court needed adequate time to rule upon them.
4. "Ends of Justice" Findings for Orders Granting Continuances
Although Defendant moved to file a supplemental briefing upon the arguments made in his initial Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 253), he again rehashes the same arguments that were already denied by the Court at the September 5, 2006 Hearing.*fn2 For reasons as stated on the record, the Court found that its Orders met the requirements of the Speedy Trial Act and the "ends of justice" requirement, as stated in 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(8)(A) (Doc. 286 -- see Transcript, Motion to Dismiss Hearing, 9/5/2006, 30:19 - 34:5).
Perhaps Defendant is merely trying to bolster the record for an anticipated appeal. Regardless of the reason, on September 8, 2006, the Court granted Defendant's oral Motion to Reopen the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 253) for the limited purpose of supplying the Court with supplemental legal authority to show that the speedy trial clock began on the date of the filing of the Indictment, or February 18, 2004. It was not to allow Defendant another bite at the apple in order to raise a multitude of other legal arguments regarding Speedy Trial violations, including ones that have already been decided by this Court (Doc. 261).
5. Speedy Trial Calculation
The Court calculates that twenty-one (21) non-excludable days to have elapsed for defendant Adams in this case. An explanation of this calculation is listed below. The Court notes that because many of the continuance Orders created an "exclusion umbrella," it does not also list the various pretrial motions that were filed during those time periods, as time is already excluded pursuant to § 3161(h)(8)(A). Further, the Court has already found that all Orders granting the various motions to continue trial were valid pursuant to the "ends of justice" requirement and therefore constitute excludable time, including the February 8, 2006 Order (Doc. 200) memorializing the ends of justice findings/excludable time, pertaining to its October 19, 2005 Order (Doc. 181) and January 17, 2006 Order (Doc. 192). 6/03/2005 Speedy Trial Clock begins to run when last co-defendant, Johnny Johnson, is arraigned under the Second Superseding Indictment (Docs. 155 & 156); However, the Magistrate also enters a pretrial discovery order that same date (Doc. 160), allowing for ten (10) days time for parties to file pretrial motions. § 3161(h)(1) 6/13/2005 End of 10-day time period allowed by Pretrial Discovery and Inspection Order (Doc. 160) for parties to file pretrial motions. [Non-excludable time from 6/14/2005 to 6/20/2005 (7 days)] 6/21/2005 Pretrial Motion to Sever (Doc. 162) by defendant Adams tolls speedy trial clock until Motion is denied by Order (Doc. 164) on 6/23/2005. § 3161(h)(1) [Non-excludable time from 6/24/2005 to 7/6/2005 (13 days)] 7/07/2005 Motion to Continue Trial (Doc. 167) by defendant Johnson tolls speedy trial clock; Motion is granted by Order (Doc. 169) on 7/13/2005, continuing trial to 11/07/2005. Time from filing of Motion until new trial date of 11/07/2005 is excludable. § 3161(h)(7); § 3161(h)(8)(A) 10/18/2005 Motion to Continue Trial (Doc. 180) by defendant Adams tolls speedy trial clock; Motion is granted by Order (Doc. 181) on 10/19/2005, continuing trial to 1/30/2006. Time from filing of Motion until new trial date of 1/30/2006 is excludable. § 3161(h)(8)(A) 1/16/2006 Motion to Continue Trial (Doc. 191) by defendant Adams tolls speedy trial clock; Motion is granted by Order (Doc. 192) on 1/17/2006, continuing trial to 3/27/2006. Time from filing of Motion until new trial date of 3/27/2006 is excludable. § 3161(h)(8)(A) 3/07/2006 Motion to Continue Trial (Doc. 206) by defendant Adams tolls speedy trial clock; Motion is granted by Order (Doc. 207) on 3/08/2006, continuing trial to 6/26/2006. Time from filing of Motion until new trial date of 6/26/2006 is excludable. § 3161(h)(8)(A) 6/12/2006 Motion to Continue Trial (Doc. 237) by defendant Adams tolls speedy trial clock; Motion is granted by Order (Doc. 238) on 6/13/2006, continuing trial to 9/11/2006. Time from filing of Motion until new trial date of 9/11/2006 is excludable. § 3161(h)(8)(A) 9/07/2006 Motion to Continue Trial (Doc. 262) by defendant Adams tolls speedy trial clock; Motion is granted by Order (Doc. 266), after a hearing, on 9/08/2006, continuing trial to 3/12/2007. Time from filing of Motion until new trial date of 3/12/2007 is excludable. § 3161(h)(8)(A) Alternatively, in the event calculating the start of the speedy trial clock at the arraignment of the last defendant is deemed improper by law, the Court finds that the speedy trial clock for defendant Adams should commence on the date of his original Indictment, February 18, 2004. It therefore agrees with the speedy trial calculation as set forth by the Government, in its Response (Doc. 285, pp. 4-5), finding that forty-eight (48) non-excludable days have elapsed,*fn3
For these reasons, the Court again DENIES Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 253, including supplemental memorandum - Doc. 284), finding that the Government has not violated the Speedy Trial Act, as there has not been more than seventy (70) non-excludable days accumulated since Defendant's Indictment.
II. Defendant's Motion for Release from Custody
Additionally, Defendant filed a Motion for Release from Custody Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3164*fn4 (Doc. 287), to which the Government opposes (Doc. 291). This Motion is also based upon Defendant's argument that the Speedy Trial Act has been violated. Defendant claims that under § 3164, he should be released from custody because he believes more than ninety (90) non-excludable days have elapsed under the Speedy Trial Act. However, because the Court has determined there has been no violation of the Speedy Trial Act, Defendant's Motion (Doc. 287) is not well-taken and therefore DENIED. Moreover, the Court remains well-aware of the fact that Defendant's criminal history and pending charges, especially the allegations of Defendant's recent escape attempt, clearly shows that he is undoubtedly a flight risk and poses a danger to the community. As such, the Court does not find need to conduct a hearing on the matter.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
David RHerndon United States District Judge