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United States v. Griner

United States District Court, D. Colorado

September 19, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
1. ULYSSES ADAM GRINER, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING ENDS OF JUSTICE CONTINUANCE

          Philip A. Brimmer, United States District Judge

         The matter comes before me on Defendant's Unopposed Motion to Exclude 30 Days From the Speedy Trial Act [Docket No. 15], wherein defendant Ulysses Adam Griner requests that the Court exclude 30 days from the Speedy Trial period. The motion indicates that the United States does not oppose this request. Id. at 4.

         The trial is set for October 30, 2017 and motions are due on September 26, 2017. Based upon Mr. Griner's initial appearance on August 24, 2017, I find that there are 48 days left in the Speedy Trial Act period.

         The defendant's motion is based on three grounds. First, the need for defense counsel to review a videotape of the car stop of Mr. Griner and research whether such videotape may provide grounds for a motion to suppress. Id. at 3. Second, the need to review the Fountain Police Department Policy and Procedure Manual regarding the impoundment of vehicles, which defendant has requested but not received. Id. And third, defense counsel's workload, which includes travel to Durango in mid-September. Id. at 4.

         The indictment charges the defendant with three counts related to possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and the possession of firearms. Docket No. 1.

         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 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 ...

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