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United States v. Meza

United States District Court, D. Colorado

February 23, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
1. SIMON MEZA, 2. ANTONIO GAROS-PENA Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S UNOPPOSED MOTION FOR AN ENDS OF JUSTICE CONTINUANCE OF TRIAL

WILLIAM J. MARTÍNEZ, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on the Defendant's Unopposed Motion for an Ends of Justice Continuance of Trial Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3161 (the "Motion"). (ECF No. 22). The Defendant's Motion requests a 60-day ends of justice continuance of the deadlines as set forth in the Speedy Trial Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 3161-3174, and for a continuance of the trial date and deadline to file motions. For the following reasons, the Motion is GRANTED.

The Speedy Trial Act is "designed to protect a defendant's constitutional right to a speedy indictment and trial, and to serve the public interest in ensuring prompt criminal proceedings." United States v. Hill, 197 F.3d 436, 440 (10th Cir. 1999). It requires that a criminal defendant's trial commence within 70 days after his indictment or initial appearance, whichever is later. See 18 U.S.C. § 3161(c)(1); United States v. Lugo, 170 F.3d 996, 1001 (10th Cir. 1999). Certain periods of delay are excluded and do not count toward the 70-day limit. See 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(1)-(8). Specifically, "the Act excludes any period of delay resulting from a continuance granted by any judge... on the basis of its 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.'" Hill, 197 F.3d at 440-441 (quoting 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(A)).

The Speedy Trial Act provides, in pertinent part:

The following periods of delay shall be excluded... in computing the time within which the trial of any such offense must commence:
....
(7)(A) Any period of delay resulting from a continuance granted by any judge... at the request of the defendant or his counsel or at the request of the attorney for the Government, 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)(7)(A).

In order for a continuance to qualify as an excludable "ends of justice" continuance under § 3161(h)(7)(A), certain prerequisites must be satisfied. Hill, 197 F.3d at 441. First, the Court must consider the following factors listed in § 3161(h)(7)(B):

(i) Whether the failure to grant such a continuance in the proceeding would be likely to make a continuation of such proceeding impossible, or result in a miscarriage of justice;
(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 [the Act];
(iii) Whether, in a case in which arrest precedes indictment, delay in the filing of the indictment is caused because the arrest occurs at a time such that it is unreasonable to expect return and filing of the indictment within the period specified in section 3161(b), or because the facts upon which the grand jury must base its determination are unusual or complex;
(iv) Whether the failure to grant such a continuance in a case which, taken as a whole, is not so unusual or so complex as to fall within clause (ii), would deny the defendant reasonable time to obtain counsel, 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 ...

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