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United States v. James

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division

May 22, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
ANTON LAMONT JAMES, Defendant.

          OPINION & ORDER

          PHILIP P. SIMON JUDGE.

         Defendant Anton Lamont James has filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, To Sever, which alleges violations of the Speed Trial Act. (DE 653.) He argues that the delay in trying this case between December 18, 2016, and October 16, 2017, is not excludable under the Act and that he has been prejudiced by this violation of the law. (Id.; DE 704 at 1-2.) I have reviewed the entries on the docket pertaining to excludable time, audio recordings of the hearings held by Magistrate Judge Andrew Rodovich, and the parties' briefs, and I heard oral argument by the parties. For the reasons below, James's motion is denied.

         The Speedy Trial Act

         The Speedy Trial Act requires me to dismiss an indictment on the motion of the defendant if more than 70 days has passed between the defendant's appearance and the beginning of the trial. 18 U.S.C. § 3162 (a)(2). However, the Act includes a “long and detailed list of periods of delay that are excluded in computing the time within which trial must start.” Zedner v. United States, 547 U.S. 489, 506-7 (2006) (citing 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)). Two of the enumerated delays are at issue here:

(6) A reasonable period of delay when the defendant is joined for trial with a codefendant as to whom the time for trial has not run and no motion for severance has been granted.
(7)(A) Any period of delay resulting from a continuance . . ., 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. § 3161(h)(6)-(7).

         Section 3161(h)(7) also delineates certain factors that the court must consider in deciding whether a continuance is excludable under the “ends-of-justice” provision, two of which are relevant here:

(ii) Whether the case is so unusual or so complex, due to the number of defendants, the nature of the prosecution, or the existence of novel questions of fact or law, that it is unreasonable to expect adequate preparation for pretrial proceedings or for the trial itself within the time limits established by this section.
. . .
(iv) Whether the failure to grant such a continuance in a [non-complex] case . . . would unreasonably deny the defendant or the Government continuity of counsel, or would deny counsel for the defendant or the attorney for the Government the reasonable time necessary for effective preparation, taking into account the exercise of due diligence.

18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(B)(ii), (iv).

         To exclude time from the speedy trial clock under the ends-of-justice provision in section 3161(h)(7), the court is required to “set forth, in the record of the case, either orally or in writing, its reasons for granting an ends-of-justice continuance.” United States v. O'Connor, 656 F.3d 630, 636 (7th Cir. 2011) (citation and internal quotation marks and brackets omitted). The Act does not specify when the findings made at the time of the continuance must be put into the record, but “at the very least the Act implies that the district court must enter the findings into the record not later than ...


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