United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING A CONTINUANCE OF TRIAL
S. Lasnik United States District Judge
matter came before the court upon the motion of counsel for
the defendant, requesting a continuance of the trial and the
setting of a new cutoff date for pretrial motions. Having
considered the files and records herein, including the
declaration of counsel filed in support of the motion and the
waiver of speedy trial executed by the defendant, and the
response of the government, the court has concluded that the
motion is meritorious and should, in the exercise of its
discretion, be granted. Therefore, THE COURT FINDS AND ORDERS
indictment, filed on September 1, 2016, contains five counts.
Counts 1 through 3 charge that the defendant devised a scheme
to defraud his employer and a third party financing entity,
in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1343 (wire fraud), in that he
arranged for funds provided by the financing entity to be
transferred into an account or accounts of an entity other
than his employer, with which he was associated, in breach of
fiduciary duties and with intent to defraud. Counts 4 and 5
charge that the defendant committed money-laundering, in
violation of 18 U.S.C. §1957, in that he transferred
funds from one account in the name of the entity other than
his employer to a different account in the name of the entity
other than his employer (Count 4) and that he then
transferred funds from that entity to his employer (Count 5).
defendant was arrested on September 9, 2016 and was released
under Pretrial Services supervision. A November trial date
was set, and September 30, 2016 was set as the deadline for
filing pretrial motions. On October 7, 2016, a status hearing
was held. At that hearing, the trial was continued to
February 27, 2017, and a new pretrial motions cutoff date
(November 22, 2016) was set, limited to motions that could
not have been filed prior to September 30, 2016.
initial appearance, at the status conference, and at all
times until December 19, 2016, the defendant was represented
by prior counsel. No pretrial motions were filed prior to
either of the pretrial motions cutoff dates.
December 21, 2016, the defendant retained his current
counsel. On December 22, 2016, current counsel filed a motion
for leave to substitute as counsel in the case. The motion
was granted on January 5, 2017.
discovery materials provided to the defendant's prior
counsel totaled approximately 12, 000 Bates-numbered pages,
plus additional materials in native format.
on the foregoing, the court makes the following FINDINGS AND
Absent an order from the court, defendant's current
counsel is precluded from filing pretrial motions, as the
deadline for filing pretrial motions has passed. The
government objects to setting a new deadline for the filing
of pretrial motions, as the original pretrial motions
deadline had already been continued once before. Dkt. # 24.
Weighing the ends of justice, however, the Court concludes
that it is appropriate to establish a new pretrial motions
deadline of March 3, 2017, in order to give defendant's
current counsel the opportunity to file pretrial motions.
This deadline will not be continued a third time.
Current defense counsel has exercised due diligence, in
promptly filing the motion for permission to substitute, in
promptly seeking access to the discovery that had been
provided to prior counsel, and in meeting with the government
to become familiar with the case shortly after the motion for
permission to substitute counsel was granted; 3. The time
remaining between now and the current trial date,
approximately six weeks, is insufficient to permit
defendant's current counsel to conduct a meaningful
review of the additional discovery, to locate and interview
witnesses, to identify areas where expert consultation or
testimony may be appropriate, and to conduct other
preparatory work associated for defending a case involving
complex financial records.
case is so complex, due to the nature of the prosecution,
that it is unreasonable to expect adequate preparation for
trial, with the exercise of due diligence, within the time
limits established by the Speedy Trial Act, 18 U.S.C.
Failure to grant a continuance in this case would likely
result in a miscarriage of justice because the defendant
would be denied the reasonable time necessary for effective
preparation, taking into account the exercise of due
diligence, 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(B)(i).
court finds that the ends of justice will best be served by a
continuance and outweigh the best interests of the public and
the defendant in a speedier trial, ...