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United States v. Amaya

United States District Court, D. Colorado

September 1, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
1. JUAN AMAYA, 2. GEORGE AMAYA, 3. KEITH REED, and 4. DIEGO MOLINA-CHAVEZ, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING ENDS OF JUSTICE CONTINUANCE

          PHILIP A. BRIMMER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         The matter is before me on Defendant Juan Amaya's Unopposed Motion for Continuance of Motions Deadline, Pretrial Conference, Trial and Unopposed Motion to Exclude Time Within Which the Trial for the Offenses Charged in the Indictment Must Commence Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(B)(i) and (iv) [Docket No. 53], wherein defendant Juan Amaya requests that the Court exclude an additional 60 days from the Speedy Trial period. Mr. Amaya indicates that he has contacted counsel for the United States and the other defendants and they do not oppose the motion. Id. at 3.

         Pretrial motions were due on August 25, 2017; the trial is set for October 16, 2017.

         The defendant's motion is based on his attorney's relatively late entry of appearance in the case and the large amount of discovery involved. See Docket No. 53 at 2.

         The superseding indictment charges the defendants with various counts related to the distribution and/or possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine and/or the possession of firearms.

         The defendant's motion implicates the Speedy Trial Act of 1974, codified at 18 U.S.C. §§ 3161-3174. Specifically, the motion implicates 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h), which provides in relevant 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).

         The Speedy Trial Act serves two distinct interests: first, to protect a defendant's right to a speedy indictment and trial, and second, to serve the public interest in ensuring prompt criminal prosecutions. United States v. Williams, 511 F.3d 1044, 1047 (10th Cir. 2007). The Act requires that a defendant's trial commence within 70 days after his indictment or initial appearance, whichever is later. See 18 U.S.C. § 3161(c)(1); Zedner v. United States, 547 U.S. 489, 497 (2006). 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.'” United States v. Hill, 197 F.3d 436, 440-41 (10th Cir. 1999) (quoting former 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(8)(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. Id. at 441.

         First, I 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 ...

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