United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING IN PART MR. ABDULLAH'S MOTION TO
CONTINUE THE TRIAL AND ORDERING COUNSEL TO MEET AND
L. ROBART UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the court is Defendant Omar Abdullah's motion to continue
the trial date and pretrial motions deadline “not less
than 90 days.” (Mot. (Dkt. # 47) at 1.) Neither
Plaintiff United States of America (“the
Government”) nor Defendant Abdirashid Haret opposes the
motion. (See Joinder (Dkt. # 48); Mot. at 1
(“The Government does not oppose this request.”);
see also generally Dkt.)
Abdullah sustained gunshot injuries during the course of his
arrest and is now a quadriplegic. (Mot. at 2.) As a result of
his injuries, the Government has housed him in a variety of
facilities. He was in Harborview Medical Center's
(“Harborview”) Intensive Care unit from the date
of his arrest, October 20, 2017, until December 1, 2017.
(Id.) He was then transferred to Harborview's
Rehabilitation Medicine Clinic. (Id.) His counsel
met with Mr. Abdullah to review discovery in private sessions
of one-to-two hours while Mr. Abdullah was at the
Rehabilitation Medicine Clinic. (Id.)
February 9, 2018, the Government transferred Mr. Abdullah to
a facility in Florence, Arizona. (Id.) Mr.
Abdullah's counsel traveled, with the court's
approval, to Arizona to meet with Mr. Abdullah.
(Id.) Prior to traveling, Mr. Abdullah's
attorney contacted the sergeant in charge of scheduling and
set up three, one-to-two hour meetings with Mr. Abdullah.
(Id.) Unfortunately, Mr. Abdullah was unavailable
for the first of these meetings because he was at a different
facility receiving a treatment for his wounds. (Id.)
Mr. Abdullah was again unavailable for the second meeting,
and his counsel was informed that he had been transferred out
of the facility and was not expected to return for the
remainder of the day. (Id.) Mr. Abdullah's
counsel then contacted United States Marshal Nathan
Alexander, who gave him the address of the nursing facility
that was treating Mr. Abdullah. (Id. at 2-3.) Upon
arrival at the nursing facility, however, Mr. Abdullah's
counsel was not permitted to meet privately with Mr.
Abdullah, and they were unable to discuss the case or review
discovery. (Id. at 3.)
the facility in Florence, Arizona is unable to care further
for Mr. Abdullah. (See Id. at 2.) Accordingly, the
Government has informed Mr. Abdullah's counsel that it
intends to transfer Mr. Abdullah to an as-yet unknown
facility but will not be transferring Mr. Abdullah back to
the Western District of Washington. (Id. at 3.)
Abdullah previously filed a waiver of his speedy trial
deadline through August 18, 2018. (Abdullah Waiver (Dkt. #
33).) Mr. Abdullah's counsel has not yet spoken with Mr.
Abdullah about the present motion to move the trial date or
secured from Mr. Abdullah a further waiver of his speedy
trial date; nor has Mr. Abdullah's counsel secured a
medical expert to assist in determining Mr. Abdullah's
physical ability to stand trial on June 25, 2018. (Mot. at
3.) Mr. Haret recently filed a second speedy trial waiver
through September 24, 2018. (2d Haret Waiver (Dkt. # 49).)
on the foregoing, the court makes the following findings of
fact and conclusions of law:
1. The ends of justice served by granting this continuance
outweigh the best interests of the public and the defendants
in a speedy trial. See 18 U.S.C. §
2. Proceeding to trial absent adequate time for the defense
to prepare would result in a miscarriage of justice. See
Id. § 3161(h)(7)(B)(i).
3. Counsel needs additional time to meet with Mr. Abdullah,
who sustained significant injuries and is not being held in
the Western District of Washington, which makes it
unreasonable, under the circumstances, to expect adequate
preparation for pretrial proceedings or for trial itself
within the time limits established by the speedy trial act
and currently set for this case. See id. §
4. Taking into consideration the exercise of due diligence, a
continuance is necessary to allow the defendants reasonable
time to effectively prepare their defense. See Id.
the court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part Mr.
Abdullah's motion. The court CONTINUES the pretrial
motions deadline from May 24, 2018, to June 21, 2018, and
CONTINUES the trial date from June 25, 2018, to July 24,
2018. The court further ORDERS that the period of time from
the filing of Mr. Abdullah's motion to continue (Dkt. #
47) until the new trial date shall be excludable time under
the Speedy Trial Act pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§
3161(h)(7)(A), 3161(h)(7)(B)(i), 3161(h)(7)(B)(ii),
3161(h)(7)(B)(iv), and 3161(h)(6).
addition, the court ORDERS the Government to allow for Mr.
Abdullah's counsel to meet and confer with Mr. Abdullah
as soon as practicable so that counsel can discuss (1) this
motion, (2) a further waiver, if needed, of Mr.
Abdullah's right to a speedy trial, (3) the hiring of a
medical expert to assess Mr. Abdullah's ability to stand
trial, (4) discovery in this matter, (5) the preparation of a
defense, and (6) any other matters necessary to Mr.
Abdullah's defense in this action. The court further
ORDERS counsel for the parties to (1) meet and confer
regarding an agreed plan for proceeding to trial in this case
given Mr. Abdullah's severe physical limitations, and (2)
file a joint status report to the court outlining their plan
no later than May 18, 2018. If counsel cannot agree on a