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United States v. Bell

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois

November 4, 2016

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
DEMONTAE BELL, Defendant.

          ORDER AND OPINION

          James E. Shadid Chief United States District Judge.

         This matter is now before the Court on Defendant Bell's Motion [81] to Dismiss. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motion [81] to Dismiss is DENIED.

         Background

         Demontae Bell was arrested on April 9, 2015, and made an initial appearance on April 10, 2015. On April 21, 2015, Defendant was charged by way of an indictment with one count of possession of a firearm by a felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g). He was arraigned on May 7, 2015. On June 18, 2015, the Court granted Defendant's motion for a continuance and made an interest of justice finding excluding the time between June 18, 2015, and July 27, 2015. On July 21, 2015, Defendant was charged by way of a five count superceding indictment alleging violations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c), 922(g), and 2, and 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(C). At his July 22, 2015, arraignment on the superceding indictment, the Court granted the Government's motion for a continuance over Defendant's objection. The Court also made an interest of justice finding excluding the time between July 22, 2015, and the trial scheduled for September 28, 2015, reasoning that Defense counsel needed additional time to review the extensive discovery turned over to Defense counsel at the hearing.

         On September 10, 2015, the Court granted Defendant's motion for continuance and made an interest of justice finding excluding the time between the September 10, 2015, and the trial scheduled for January 19, 2016. A second superseding indictment was filed on September 22, 2015, and an arraignment was held on September 29, 2015. Thereafter, Defendant's counsel withdrew and a new attorney was appointed to represent Bell. On December 2, 2015, the Court granted Defendant's motion to vacate the January trial date and made an interest of justice finding excluding the time between December 2, 2015, and the scheduled trial for March 7, 2016. Defendant filed a motion to suppress on January 5, 2016, and the Court scheduled a hearing on the motion for March 1, 2016. On January 27, 2016, Defendant moved to withdraw the motion and filed new motions to suppress, dismiss, and sever. An amended motion to suppress was filed on February 2, 2016.

         On February 17, 2016, a third superceding indictment was filed. At the March 1, 2016, arraignment, the Court continued the hearing date for the suppression motion and made an interest of justice finding excluding the time between March 1, 2016, and the trial scheduled for May 9, 2016. On April 4, Defendant filed a motion to quash. The Court held a motion hearing on April 13, 2016, took the motions to suppress and quash under advisement, vacated the trial date and made an interest of justice finding excluding the time between April 13, 2016, and the pretrial conference set for May 5, 2016. On April 20, 2016, the Court denied Defendant's motion to suppress in a written order. On May 4, 2016, Defendant filed a second motion to suppress. At the pretrial conference on May 5, 2016, the Court set a motion hearing on the motion to suppress for June 8, 2016, and made an interest of justice finding excluding the same. On May 19 and May 24, 2016, Defendant filed motions to continue, the latter of which was granted. At a status conference on June 15, 2016, the Court granted Defendant's oral motion to continue, scheduled a pretrial conference for July 21, 2016, and made an interest of justice finding excluding the time between June 15, 2016, and July 21, 2016.

         At the status conference on July 21, 2016, Defendant requested that his current counsel be removed and that another attorney be appointed to represent him. The Court appointed new counsel for Defendant and made an interest of justice finding excluding the time between July 21, 2016, and the scheduled status conference on August 26, 2016. A status conference was held on August 31, 2016, where Defendant's newly appointed counsel adopted the pending motions to suppress. The Court scheduled a pretrial conference for November 3, 2016 and set trial for December 19, 2016. On October 12, 2016, a status conference was held in response to a motion to continue arising out of a dispute between Defendant and his counsel. On October 20, 2016, the Court held a motion hearing on Defendant's motions to suppress and motion to quash, and Defendant filed the instant motion to dismiss the same day. The Court took the motions under advisement and ordered the Government to respond to the motion to dismiss within 14 days. A pretrial conference was held on November 3, 2016. On November 4, 2016, the Court issued a written Order denying Defendant's motions to suppress and quash.

         Legal Standard

         A defendant must go to trial within 70 days of either the date of the issuance of an indictment or a defendant's first appearance before a judicial officer, whichever is later. 18 U.S.C. § 3161(c)(1); Blake v. United States., 723 F.3d 870, 884 (7th Cir. 2013). An indictment against a defendant must be dismissed if the defendant is not brought to trial within the 70-day period. Id. However, § 3161 sets forth a number of statutorily permitted exclusions that do not count against the 70-day clock. Id.; § 3161(h)(1)-(8).

         Under § 3161(h), periods of delay are excluded for:

(1) Any period of delay resulting from other proceedings concerning the defendant, including but not limited to--
(A) delay resulting from any proceeding, including any examinations, to determine the mental competency or physical capacity of the defendant;
(B) delay resulting from trial with respect to other charges ...

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