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United States v. Carter

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky

February 27, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF
v.
JEFFREY DESMOND CARTER, DEFENDANT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Thomas B. Russell, Senior Judge United States District Court

         This matter is before the Court upon a Motion to Continue Trial Date, [R 67], by the plaintiff, United States of America (hereinafter "the Government"). The defendant, Jeffrey Carter, responded, [R. 69]. This matter is ripe for adjudication. For the reasons stated herein, the Government's Motion to Continue Trial Date, [R 67], is GRANTED.

         On October 18, 2016, Carter was charged in an indictment with twenty-five counts of Production of Child Pornography, one count of Receipt of Child Pornography, and one count of Sex Trafficking of a Minor. [R 4.] On August 22, 2017, Carter entered please of guilty and/or nolo contendere to all twenty-seven counts of the Indictment at a hearing in front of Magistrate Judge King. [R. 32.] After Carter's sentencing was continued three times by defense counsel, [R. 41; R 49; R 51], and previous defense counsel withdrew from the case, [R 53]. On March 23, 2018, Carter was appointed new counsel, who moved to withdrawal Carter's pleas, [R. 58]. After a hearing and briefing from the parties, the Court granted Carter's Motion to Withdraw Plea on August 31, 2018, [R 63]. Atthattime, this matter was set for trial by jury on March 25, 2019. [R 62.]

         As explained by the Government, approximately four weeks ago, counsel for the Government was informed that the Government's previously identified expert computer forensic examiner, employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and assigned to the Kentucky Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory (KRFCL), was the subject of a pending disciplinary action. [R 67 at 1-2.] Currently, that expert is suspended from his employment pending the final resolution of the FBI administrative process. [Id.] Thus, the Government is unable to properly prepare for trial by consulting with said expert who conducted all of the forensic examinations of the devices. [Id. at 2.] The Government states that these devices, and their contents, "comprise a large share of the proof that the United States will present at the trial of this case" and they contain "large numbers of images and videos of child pornography." [Id.] The Government has obtained an additional search warrant authorizing the FBI and KRCFL to conduct a new search of the devices in question, but the FBI and KRCFL estimate that the reports related to such a search would not be available until late March or early April of 2019. [Id. at 3.] Furthermore, the Government explains that once those reports are received, it will "need time to review and disclose or make available, as appropriate, discoverable materials to the defendant." [Id.]

         As a result of these recent events, the Government argues that a continuance of the trial is necessary for three reasons:

(1) that the failure to grant the continuance would be likely to make a continuation of the proceeding impossible, or result in a miscarriage of justice (see 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(B)(i)); (2) that this case is unusual and complex due to the nature of the prosecution and that extra time to permit preparations for trial is reasonable (see 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(B)(ii)); and/or (3) that failure to grant a continuance would deny counsel for the government the reasonable time necessary for effective preparation for trial (see 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(B)(iv)).

[Id.] Accordingly the Government contends that “the time between March 25, 2019 and the potential new trial date is properly excludable from the time allowed for a speedy trial.” [Id.] The Court agrees.

“[T]he Speedy Trial Act comprehensively regulates the time within which a trial must begin, ” and also provides “numerous categories of delay that are not counted in applying the Acts deadlines.” Zedner v. United States, 547 U.S. 489, 500 (2006). To exclude a delay from the speedy trial calculation, the Court must “set[ ] forth, in the record of the case, either orally or in writing its reasons for finding that the ends of justice served by granting of such continuance outweigh the best interests of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial.” 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(8)(B)(iv).

         Here, extra time is required for a just resolution of Carters case. As the Court stated in its Order on February 19, 2019, this case is declared complex due to the number of documents involved and the nature of the prosecution, and it is unreasonable to expect adequate preparation for pretrial proceedings, or the trial itself, within the time limits established. [R. 68.] The Sixth Circuit has stated that “[g]ranting a continuance based on the complexity of a case is statutorily appropriate and has been established in case law as adequate.” United States v. Stone, 461 F. Appx 461, 465 (6th Cir. 2012); see also United States v. Richardson, 681 F.3d 736, 740 (6th Cir. 2012) (same). An improperly rushed trial, requiring an appeal and retrial, would cause a much longer delay-ultimately denying Carters interest in a speedy trial. Furthermore, the publics interest in a just resolution of this case requires properly prepared counsel. Thus, despite Carters objection, the Court finds that “the ends of justice served by granting of such continuance outweigh the best interests of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial.” 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(8)(B)(iv).[1]The Court will grant a continuance of the trial of this case until middle of June 2019, and will exclude the period of delay from the time allowed for a speedy trial.

         For the foregoing reasons, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED: The Government's Motion to Continue Trial Date, [R. 67], is GRANTED. The jury trial set on March 25, 2019 is VACATED.

         1. The jury trial is set on June 17, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. Counsel shall meet in chambers at 8:30 a.m.

         2. A TELEPHONIC FURTHER PROCEEDINGS is set on April 30, 2019 at 8:45 a.m. The Court shall place the call.

         3. The Government shall provide 404(b) evidence three weeks prior to trial. Any objections by defendant shall be filed within 7 days.

         4. Fourteen days prior to trial counsel shall file an exhibit list of exhibits they intend to introduce as evidence in chief and allow opposing counsel to inspect the exhibit Any objection to ...


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