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United States v. Graves

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

June 21, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
LEE GRAVES, a/k/a Rasul el-bey LEE GRAVES, Appellant

Submitted Under Third Circuit LAR 34.1(a) May 31, 2013

On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (D.C. No. 11-cr-119-001) District Judge: Hon. Lawrence F. Stengel

Michael N. Huff Counsel for Appellant

Zane D. Memeger Robert Zauzmer Andrew J. Schell Office of United States Attorney Counsel for Appellee

Before: JORDAN and VANASKIE, Circuit Judges, and RAKOFF [*] , Senior District Judge.

OPINION

JORDAN, Circuit Judge.

Lee Graves appeals the judgment of conviction and sentence imposed by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on May 31, 2012. He contends that his conviction must be reversed because his rights under the Speedy Trial Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 3161 et seq., were violated. As there was no such violation, we will affirm.

I. Background

On March 2, 2011, a grand jury returned an indictment charging Graves with one count of attempted possession of 500 grams or more of cocaine with intent to distribute, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(B)(ii) and 21 U.S.C. § 846. He was arraigned on March 31, 2011, at which time the presiding magistrate judge decided that Graves should be evaluated to see whether he was competent to stand trial. The following day, the District Court entered an order instructing the Bureau of Prisons to conduct a psychiatric examination and mental competency evaluation of Graves, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4241(b). That evaluation was still pending on June 3, 2011, three days before Graves's trial was scheduled to occur. The District Court therefore issued an order continuing the case until the filing of the competency report.

On June 22, 2011, the Bureau of Prisons completed the report, which concluded that Graves was competent to stand trial. The report was mailed to the magistrate judge with a cover letter dated June 28, 2011, and it was apparently received on July 7, 2011.[1] On September 21, 2011, the District Court held a status hearing, during which it reviewed the report and ruled that Graves was competent to stand trial. It also appointed defense counsel, who immediately moved for a continuance to allow adequate time to prepare for trial. On September 26, 2011, the Court granted that motion and set Graves's trial date for February 27, 2012.

Only weeks after seeking the continuance, however, Graves moved on October 21, 2011, to dismiss the indictment. He claimed that more than 70 days of inexcusable delay had passed since the filing of the indictment, which he argued violated his rights under the Speedy Trial Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3161 et seq., the Speedy Trial Clause of the Sixth Amendment, and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The District Court held a hearing on the motion and concluded that the time between March 31,

2011, when the competency evaluation was ordered, and September 21, 2011, when the competency determination was made, was excluded from the speedy trial calculation. It further held that the time after the September 21 hearing was also excluded due to defense counsel's request for a continuance. The Court therefore found that Graves's speedy trial rights had not been violated.

Graves's trial began as scheduled on February 27, 2012. He was convicted and sentenced to 120 months in prison and eight years of ...


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