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United States v. Cain

United States District Court, E.D. Washington

May 11, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
CHRISTOPHER ALLEN CAIN, Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

          ROSANNA MALOUF PETERSON United States District Judge

         BEFORE THE COURT is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 47 in 2:16-CR-69-RMP (ECF No. 32 in 2:16-CR-176-RMP).[1] The Court has reviewed the motion, the record, and is fully informed.

         Defendant argues that the Government has violated his right to a speedy trial, as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. ECF No. 47. Defendant was indicted in the first federal case, 2:16-CR-69-RMP, on April 20, 2016, and in 2:16-CR-176-RMP on October 18, 2016, but Defendant was not arraigned until December 2, 2016. Therefore, he did not appear before a judicial officer of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington until December 2, 2016.

         Just over a month later, on January 5, 2017, Defendant filed a motion seeking a continuance of at least sixty days. See ECF No. 37. One month later, along with his motion to dismiss, Defendant requested that the trial be reset for a month later, during a time period when a critical Government witness is unavailable. The Court granted Defendant's request to reset the trial date, but set it for May 22, 2017, to accommodate the Government's witness. See ECF No. 54.

         The Speedy Trial Act states in relevant part that

the trial of a defendant charged in an information or indictment with the commission of an offense shall commence within seventy days from the filing date (and making public) of the information or indictment, or from the date the defendant has appeared before a judicial officer of the court in which such charge is pending, whichever date last occurs.

18 U.S.C. § 3161(c). As stated in the Court's prior orders granting continuances that were requested by the parties, the resulting delays are accounted for by 18 U.S.C. § 3161 and do not count against the seventy-day time period. See ECF Nos. 43 and 54. Therefore, Defendant's rights pursuant to the Speedy Trial Act have not been violated. However, Defendant asserts a violation of his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial, not his rights under the Speedy Trial Act.

         The United States Supreme Court has stated that

[d]epending on the nature of the charges, the lower courts have generally found postaccusation delay “presumptively prejudicial” at least as it approaches one year. See 2 W. LaFave & J. Israel, Criminal Procedure § 18.2, p. 405 (1984); Joseph, Speedy Trial Rights in Application, 48 Ford.L.Rev. 611, 623, n. 71 (1980) (citing cases). We note that, as the term is used in this threshold context, “presumptive prejudice” does not necessarily indicate a statistical probability of prejudice; it simply marks the point at which courts deem the delay unreasonable enough to trigger the Barker enquiry. Cf. Uviller, Barker v. Wingo: Speedy Trial Gets a Fast Shuffle, 72 Colum.L.Rev. 1376, 1384-1385 (1972).

Doggett v. United States, 505 U.S. 647, 652 [] (1992). The Barker inquiry is a four-factor balancing test used to assess the merits of Defendant's Sixth Amendment speedy trial claim; the factors to be considered are “(1) the length of the delay; (2) the reason for the delay; (3) the defendant's assertion of his right to a speedy trial; and (4) the prejudice to the defendant.” United States v. Gregory, 322 F.3d 1157, 1161 (9th Cir. 2003) (citing Barker v. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514, 530 (1972)).

         Defendant's federal trial date was initially set for February 6, 2017, a date that was well within a year of when Defendant was subject to the first federal indictment, and just over two months after he first appeared in front of a “judicial officer of the court in which such charge is pending.” However, now that the trial has been moved to May 22, 2017, just over one year has transpired since Defendant was first indicted in case number 2:16-CR-69-RMP and seven months have passed since Defendant was indicted in case number 2:16-CR-176-RMP. Therefore, sufficient time has passed to invoke the analysis of the pre-trial delay pursuant to Barker.

         (1) The length of the delay

         “Under the Sixth Amendment, delay is measured from ‘the time of the indictment to the time of trial.'” United States v. Gregory, 322 F.3d 1157, 1162 (9th Cir. 2003) (quoting United States v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 877 F.2d 734, 739 (9th Cir. 1989)). As stated above, the delay between the indictments and Defendant's trial date equates to thirteen months and seven months, respectively. Although these delays are sufficient for the Court to proceed with the analysis of the other Barker factors, this factor only slightly weighs in Defendant's favor, as the delays are not exceedingly long under the circumstances (as discussed in further detail below).

         (2) The ...


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