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United States v. Brenna

argued: April 26, 1989.

UNITED STATES
v.
JOSEPH BRENNA, APPELLANT



On Appeal from the District Court of the Virgin Islands for the Division of St. Thomas and St. John, D.C. Crim. No. 87-00157-01.

Hutchinson, Cowen and Garth, Circuit Judges.

Author: Per Curiam

Opinion OF THE COURT

Per Curiam

Joseph Brenna appeals his conviction for knowingly transporting monetary instruments in excess of $10,000 of United States currency without filing a Report of International Transportation of Currency, in violation of 31 U.S.C. §§ 5316 & 5322. His contention on appeal is that his conviction must be reversed because the Speedy Trial Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3161 et seq., was violated by the events preceding his eventual plea of guilty to the information.*fn1 We find that there was a Speedy Trial Act violation, and will therefore reverse Brenna's conviction.

I.

The facts necessary for our disposition of this appeal are as follows. Brenna was charged by information with violating 31 U.S.C. §§ 5316 and 5322 on August 28, 1987. A jury trial commenced on the charge on March 21, 1988. That trial ended on March 23, 1988 in a mistrial.

Following the mistrial, no action was taken in Brenna's case until May 20, 1988, when the United States moved to set the case for trial before expiration of the time permitted under the Speedy Trial Act. According to the government's motion, Brenna's trial had to begin by June 1, 1988 in order to avoid a Speedy Trial Act violation. The government's motion specifically stated: "There have been no excludable periods of delay since March 23, 1988; therefore the Speedy Trial Act requires that the trial of this case begin within seventy days from that date, that is on or before June 1, 1988." Record Doc. No. 54 at 1. Brenna did not immediately respond to the government's May 20 motion.

On May 26, 1988, Judge Christian [the district court] issued an order which stated in its entirety:

AND NOW, this 26' day of May, 1988,

It is ORDERED that the above captioned cause be, and the same is hereby set for trial during the period of JULY 25th through AUGUST 12th, 1988. The calendar will be called at 3:00 P.M. in the District Court courtroom on FRIDAY JULY 22nd, 1988, at which time a specific trial date and hour will be assigned. The selection of the trial panel will commence promptly at 8:45 A.M. on MONDAY JULY 25th 1988.

Unless prior approval to the contrary has been obtained from the Court, counsel and litigants must be prepared to proceed to trial on any day during the designated period appointed by the Court.

Except as otherwise ordered the Court for good cause shown, this case will proceed to trial as ...


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