United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
Richard Caputo, United States District Judge
me is Lance Green's (“Green”) Motion to
Dismiss (Doc. 65) for violations of the Speedy Trial Act 18
U.S.C. § 3161, et seq. (“Act”).
Green submits two arguments in support of this motion. First,
he contends the Government failed to indict him within thirty
days of his arrest, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 3161(b).
(See Doc. 66 at 4-5). Second, Green argues the
Government failed to bring him to trial within seventy days
of his arraignment, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
3161(c)(1). (See Id. at 5). These arguments are
fully briefed and are ripe for disposition.
October 5, 2017, Borough of Kingston Police took Green into
custody following a traffic stop. (Id. at 1).
Kingston Police later obtained a search warrant for
Green's residence at 143 Second Ave., Kingston, PA.
(See id.). The search, conducted by Kingston Police
and Federal Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF)
Agents, produced a firearm with an obliterated serial number.
(Id.). That same day, Kingston Police charged Green
with possessing an unlawful firearm and possessing a firearm
with an obliterated serial number, in violation of
Pennsylvania law. (See id.). Related to the incident
on October 5, the Government indicted Green for various
weapons violations pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§
922(g)(1), 924(e), 922(k) on January 23, 2018. (See
Doc. 1). Green now brings this motion to dismiss for
violations of the Act. (Doc. 65).
requires the Government to indict a defendant “within
thirty days from the date on which such individual was
arrested or served with a summons in connection with such
charges.”18 U.S.C. § 3161(b). If the Government
does not bring an indictment against the defendant within
thirty days, “such charge[s] against that individual
contained in such complaint shall be dismissed or otherwise
dropped.” Id. § 3162(a)(1). In addition,
§ 3161(c)(1) provides
In any case in which a plea of not guilty is entered, the
trial of a defendant . . . shall commence within seventy days
from the filing date . . . of the . . . indictment, or from
the date the defendant has appeared before a judicial officer
of the court in which such charge is pending, whichever date
Id. at § 3161(c)(1). If more than seventy days
elapses before the defendant is brought to trial, and the
cause of the delay does not fit within an exclusion specified
in § 3161(h), the indictment must be dismissed. See
Zedner v. United States, 547 U.S. 489, 498 (2006)
(“If a trial does not begin on time, the defendant may
move, before the start of trial or the entry of a guilty
plea, to dismiss the charges, and if a meritorious and timely
motion to dismiss is filed, the district court must dismiss
the charges . . . .”); United States v.
Lattany, 982 F.2d 866, 871 (3d Cir. 1992).
18 U.S.C. § 3161(b)
first argues that more than thirty days elapsed from his
arrest on October 5, 2017, unti l he was indicted in federal
court on January 23, 2018, violating § 3161(b).
(See Doc. 66 at 1); see also 18 U.S.C.
§ 3161(b). Green relies on DeTienne, a Seventh
Circuit case which, in dicta, states: “[I]f
the crimes for which a defendant is ultimately prosecuted
really only gild the charge underlying his initial arrest and
the different accusatorial dates between them are not
reasonably explicable, the initial arrest may well mark the
speedy trial provision's applicability as to prosecution
for all the interrelated offenses.” United States
v. DeTienne, 468 F.2d 151, 155 (7th Cir. 1972).
the state and federal charges arise from the same conduct and
involve similar laws, Green argues he needed to be indicted
within thirty days of his October 5, 2017 arrest by state law
enforcement officers. (See Doc. 66 at 4). This,
however, runs contrary to Third Circuit precedent. In
Watkins, the defendants argued the Government could
not bring conspiracy charges more than thirty days after they
were indicted because “the proofs underlying the two
[state and federal] charges are the same.” United
States v. Watkins, 339 F.3d 167, 177 (3d Cir. 2003). In
rejecting that argument, the court declined to adopt the
“gilding exception” discussed in De
Tienne. Id. at 177-78 (“Whether the
proofs underlying the two charges are identical is no
different than whether the charges in the indictment are
‘based on the same underlying conduct as the initial
complaint,' i.e., the transaction test we
specifically rejected in Oliver.”) (quoting
United States v. Oliver, 238 F.3d 471, 473 (3d Cir.
contradicting Green's argument, in Himmelreich,
local police charged the defendant with violating state child
pornography laws. See United States v. Himmelreich,
265 Fed.Appx. 100, 100-02 (3d Cir. 2008). The Government
later indicted him for violating the equivalent federal
statute, 18 U.S.C. § 2251(b). Id. Himmelreich
argued that because a joint federal and state task force
arrested him, the time for the Government to file an
indictment began to accrue when he was arrested by state
officials. See id. at 103. The court rejected this
argument and said, “a ‘joint state-federal
investigation' leading to a defendant's arrest and
detention by state officers does not implicate the Speedy
Trial Act until the defendant is taken into federal
custody.” Id. (quoting United States v.
Thomas, 55 F.3d 144, 148 (4th Cir. 1995)). Likewise,
even if the ATF did take part in executing the search warrant
on Green's residence, that search did not start the
thirty days to bring an indictment. See Id.
Therefore, the indictment against Green will not be dismissed
on § 3161(b) grounds.
18 U.S.C. ...