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United States v. King

United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division

July 15, 2019




         Defendant, William Stanley King, has moved to dismiss the indictment against him for a Speedy Trial Act violation, based on the amount of time that Defendant was incarcerated while being transported for a psychological evaluation. The Government counters that the Speedy Trial Act has not been violated because any delay was reasonable. The Court agrees that the Speedy Trial Act has been violated and will dismiss the indictment, but the dismissal is without prejudice.

         I. Background

         On May 7, 2018, Defendant made his initial appearance in the Western District of Michigan, starting the Speedy Trial clock. On June 14, 2019, after 38 days had elapsed, Defendant filed a motion for an ends-of-justice continuance. On June 19, 2018, Defendant filed a motion for competency evaluation, which the Court granted on June 21, 2018. A competency report was filed on August 14, 2018, and a competency hearing was scheduled for August 21, 2018. On August 16, 2018, the parties filed a joint motion to adjourn the competency hearing until Magistrate Judge Ellen Carmody could return from leave.

         On September 12, 2018, the Court granted Defendant's request for a second competency evaluation by the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and ordered Defendant to self-surrender to the U.S. Marshals Service on September 21, 2018. Defendant did not appear on that day but self-surrendered on October 5, 2018. On October 16, 2018, Magistrate Judge Carmody ordered the U.S. Marshals Service to transport Defendant to SeaTac, a BOP facility in Washington state, with arrival no later than October 26, 2018. Defendant actually arrived at SeaTac 14 days later, on October 30, 2018. Defendant was transported via the JPATS system, which is the government's air transport system that transports defendants who have already been sentenced, defendants travelling for examination purposes, and immigration defendants. The U.S. Marshals Service's manifest reflects that on October 18, 2016, Defendant was transported from Newaygo County Jail by car to Grand Rapids and then to Chicago, where he was entered into the JPATS system. Defendant remained in Chicago until October 29, 2018, when he was flown to Oklahoma City, the hub of the JPATS system through which almost all airlifts pass. The next day, Defendant was flown to Seattle and driven to SeaTac. There is no explanation why Defendant was in Chicago for 11 days.

         While Defendant was at SeaTac, the BOP requested and was granted extensions to complete its study and observation of Defendant. On January 24, 2019, Defendant was authorized for transport and was transferred out of SeaTac and went as far as Nevada. Four days later, Defendant left Nevada on a flight to Oklahoma City. Defendant remained in Grady County Jail near Oklahoma City from January 28 to February 26, 2018, during which time no airlifts arrived at Willow Run Airport in Michigan, through which all West Michigan defendants are transported. Defendant was placed on the first available airlift on February 26, 2018, and was returned to Newaygo County Jail the same day, 33 days after he was available for transport on January 24, 2019.

         Defendant was released on bond on March 4, 2019; was ordered competent to stand trial on April 17, 2019; and filed the instant motion on May 6, 2019.

         II. Speedy Trial Act

         Under the Speedy Trial Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3161(c)(1), in any case where a defendant pleads not guilty, a trial must commence within 70 days of the filing date of the information or indictment or from the defendant's first appearance in the court where the charge is pending, whichever occurs latest. Certain periods of delay are excluded from the computation of the 70 days. Relevant to this case, the Speedy Trial Act excludes delay resulting from a mental competency evaluation, § 3161(h)(1)(A); delay resulting from any pretrial motion, measured from the filing of the motion through the disposition of the motion, § 3161(h)(1)(D); and delay resulting from transportation of the defendant to a place of examination, except that delay in excess of 10 days from the date of the order directing the transportation is presumptively unreasonable, § 3161(h)(1)(F).

         III. Parties' Arguments

         The parties agree that 38 days of computable time elapsed between Defendant's initial appearance on May 7, 2018, and the filing of Defendant's motion for an ends-of-justice continuance on June 14, 2018. The parties also agree that 19 days of computable time elapsed between the Court's competency finding on April 19, 2018, and the filing of the instant motion on May 6, 2019. Thus, the parties agree that at least 57 days count toward the Speedy Trial clock.

         The parties disagree on what amount of time, if any, should be counted toward the Speedy Trial clock based on Defendant's transportation to and from SeaTac. Defendant argues that four days should be counted for the trip to SeaTac because the transport took 14 days, and any time beyond 10 days is presumptively unreasonable. The Government argues that those four days are not counted because the delay was reasonable.

         The return trip began on January 24, 2018, and Defendant arrived on February 26, 2019, a period of 33 days.[1] According to Defendant, 23 days should be counted toward the Speedy Trial clock, the number of days in excess of the 10 days of transport that are presumed reasonable. The Government counters that no days should count on the return trip because the delay could be explained by winter weather delays, staffing issues, and the government shutdown. No. airlifts arrived to Willow Run Airport (through which all West Michigan defendants are transported) between January 28, 2019, and February 26, 2019, so Defendant returned to Michigan on the first available airlift.

         Based on Defendant's calculation, 84 days should be counted toward the Speedy Trial clock-57 days (agreed upon by the parties) 4 days (transport to SeaTac) 23 days (transport from SeaTac). Based on the Government's calculation, only 57 days of computable time ...

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