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United States of America v. Krishna Mote

September 28, 2012

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
KRISHNA MOTE, DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: (Judge Munley)

MEMORANDUM

Before the court is defendant's motion to dismiss the indictment for violation of Defendant Krishna Mote's speedy trial rights. (Doc. 49). For the following reasons, this motion will be denied.

Background

On June 7, 2011, a grand jury sitting in this district returned a two-count indictment naming Defendant Krishna Mote (hereinafter "defendant"). (Doc. 1). Count I charges defendant with conspiracy to distribute, and possession with intent to distribute, more than 280 grams of crack cocaine in violation of 28 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(A). Count II charges defendant with distributing, and possessing with the intent to distribute, crack cocaine as an aider and abettor in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a) and 18 U.S.C. § 2. The court issued an arrest warrant for defendant on the same day the grand jury returned the indictment. (Doc. 4).

The government arrested defendant, and he made his initial appearance on September 22, 2011. (Doc. 11). The court ordered defendant detained, and he entered a not guilty plea. (Docs. 10, 13). The trial in this matter was scheduled for November 21, 2011. (Doc. 11).

On October 12, 2011, defendant moved for an extension to file pretrial motions. (Doc. 687 in 3:07cr144).*fn1 The court granted defendant's motion and trial was rescheduled for December 28, 2011. (Doc. 14). On November 16, 2011, defendant filed another motion for an extension of time to file pretrial motions. (Doc. 693 in 3:07cr144). The court, again, granted defendant's motion and the trial date was rescheduled for January 17, 2012. (Doc. 17). On January 4, 2012, defendant filed another motion to continue the trial. (Doc. 25). The court granted defendant's motion and trial was rescheduled for March 26, 2012. (Doc. 26).

On March 6, 2012, the court rescheduled defendant's pretrial conference and trial date to April 11, 2012 and May 14, 2012 respectively. (Doc. 31). On April 10, 2012, prior to the scheduled pretrial conference, defendant filed two pretrial motions--one motion in limine and one discovery motion. (Docs. 35, 36). By order dated April 16, 2012, the court directed the government to respond to defendant's motion in limine. (Doc.

40). In that same Order, the court denied defendant's motion for additional discovery in light of the parties agreement to resolve further discovery disputes. On April 18, 2012, the court rescheduled defendant's trial for October 1, 2012. (Doc. 41). The court subsequently denied defendant's pretrial motion and scheduled another pretrial conference for September 20, 2012. (Docs. 46, 47). In anticipation of our September 20, 2012 pretrial conference, defendant filed the instant motion to dismiss, bringing this case to its current posture.

Discussion

Defendant's speedy trial argument is twofold. First, defendant argues that his continued detention without trial is in violation of the Speedy Trial Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3161, and the indictment against him should be dismissed. Second, defendant contends that the indictment should be dismissed because his Sixth Amendment constitutional right to a speedy trial has been violated. As is fully explained below, the court finds that both arguments lack merit. Defendant's motion will accordingly be denied.

A. Speedy Trial Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3160

Under the Speedy Trial Act, the trial of a defendant who pled not guilty to the alleged commission of an offense as charged in an information or indictment "shall commence within seventy days from the filing date (and making public) 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." 18 U.S.C. § 3161(c)(1). "'Congress enacted the Speedy Trial Act to give effect to the Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial by setting specified time limits after arraignment or indictment within which criminal trials must be commenced.'" United States v. Lattany, 982 F.2d 866, 870 (3d Cir. 1992) (quoting United States v. Rivera Constr. Co., 863 F.2d 293, 295 (3d Cir. 1988)). "If the trial does not commence within the 70-day period, the Act requires that the indictment be dismissed." Rivera, 863 F.2d at 295 (citing 18 U.S.C. § 3162(a)(2)).

The Act does not mandate, however, that every criminal case go to trial within seventy days or face immediate dismissal. In calculating the seventy-day period prescribed by the Speedy Trial Act, "[d]elay resulting from any pretrial motion, from the date of the filing of the motion through the date of the prompt disposition of the motion, is excluded." United States v. Arbelaez, 7 F.3d 344, 347 (3d Cir. 1993). "Any pretrial motion, including a motion for extension of time, is a pretrial motion within the meaning of Section 3161(h)(1)(F) and creates excludable time, even if it does not in fact delay trial." Id.

Furthermore, time attributable to a delay is excluded from the seventy-day time limit "if the judge granted such continuance on the basis of his findings that the ends of justice served by taking such action outweigh the best interest of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial." 18 U.S.C. ยง 3161(h)(7)(A). The district court must state its reasons for granting an "ends of justice" continuance; however, the statement of reasons need not be made contemporaneously with the order to continue because the Act's "reasons" requirement is satisfied by subsequent memorandum explaining the court's decision. See United States v. Brooks, 697 F.2d 517, 522 (3d Cir. 1982). Defendants bear the burden of proving a violation of the Speedy Trial Act. See 18 U.S.C. ...


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