Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

U.S. v. KNIGHT

August 3, 2001

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
V.
MELVIN T. KNIGHT, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Paul L. Friedman, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

The defendant has moved to dismiss the indictment and to modify the conditions of his release based on alleged violations of the Speedy Trial Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3161, et seq. Upon consideration of the arguments of the parties in their briefs and at the motions hearing, the Court denies defendant's motion to dismiss and his motion to modify conditions of release.

I. BACKGROUND

Defendant Melvin Knight was arrested on December 21, 2000, appearing before Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola that same day. On December 27, 2000, Judge Facciola held a preliminary hearing in which he determined that the government had probable cause to arrest Mr. Knight; he also issued a detention memorandum ordering that defendant remain in custody. Mr. Knight has been in custody continuously since the date of his arrest.

On January 18, 2001, a grand jury returned a two count indictment charging Mr. Knight with unlawful distribution of five grams or more of cocaine base in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B)(iii), and unlawful distribution of 50 grams or more of cocaine base in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)(iii). On January 25, 2001, defendant was arraigned on this indictment before Judge Royce C. Lamberth to whom the case was originally assigned. Just before the arraignment, the prosecutor assigned to the case, Danny Onorato, spoke with defense counsel, Robert Mance, regarding Mr. Onorato's belief that Mr. Mance had a potential conflict of interest that would prevent him from representing Mr. Knight in this matter. Both counsel agreed that Mr. Onorato would refrain from filing a motion to disqualify defense counsel until after Mr. Mance had the opportunity to consider the matter and determine for himself whether there was a potential conflict. This understanding was communicated to Judge Lamberth at the January 25 arraignment.

Judge Lamberth scheduled a status conference for February 6, 2001. At the February 6 status conference, Mr. Mance represented that he had not resolved the conflict issue, so an additional status conference was scheduled for February 13, 2001. At the February 13 status conference, Mr. Mance indicated that he still had not been able to resolve the issue. On the same day, he filed a motion for reconsideration of defendant's bond.

The parties appeared again before Judge Lamberth on February 16, 2001, at which time Judge Lamberth denied defendant's motion for reconsideration of bond. On that day, Mr. Mance conveyed to the Court his belief that he had no conflict or potential conflict of interest and that he would be able to represent Mr. Knight. The prosecutor disagreed and indicated that he would file a motion to disqualify Mr. Mance. The motion to disqualify was filed two weeks later, on March 2, 2001. Mr. Mance filed an opposition on March 12, 2001. Judge Lamberth heard argument on the motion on March 13 and took the matter under advisement.

On June 4, 2001, the case was randomly reassigned by the Calendar Committee from Judge Lamberth to the undersigned. Three days later, on June 7, 2001, defendant filed a motion to dismiss the indictment based on the government's alleged violation of the Speedy Trial Act and a motion for reconsideration of his bond, also based on asserted Speedy Trial Act violations. On July 6, 2001, the Court issued a memorandum opinion and order under seal denying the motion to disqualify Mr. Mance as defense counsel. On July 12, 2001, the Court heard argument on the motion to dismiss and for reconsideration of bond and took the matter under advisement.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Motion to Dismiss

Because defendant has not been brought to trial within the time specified by the Speedy Trial Act, he contends that the indictment must be dismissed. The Act provides 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)(1). Because Mr. Knight's first appearance before Magistrate Judge Facciola occurred before the indictment was returned, the date of the filing of the indictment, January 18, 2001, is the relevant starting point for the Court's analysis. See United States v. Richmond, 735 F.2d 208, 211 (6th Cir. 1984); United States v. Carrasquillo, 667 F.2d 382, 384 (3d Cir. 1981).

The parties agree that when the defendant filed the motion to dismiss on June 7, 2001, the speedy trial clock stopped, and they also agree that certain periods of delay may be excluded from the Court's calculations under the Speedy Trial Act. See 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h). The parties agree that three days should be excluded to account for the time between February 13, 2001 (when the motion for reconsideration of bond was filed) and February 16, 2001 (when Judge Lamberth denied the motion) and that 11 days should be excluded between March 2, 2001 (when the motion to disqualify counsel was filed) and March 13, 2001 (the date of the hearing on the motion). See 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(1)(F). They also agree that after Judge Lamberth took the motion to disqualify under advisement following the motions hearing, an additional 30 days should be excluded from the speedy trial calculation. See 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(1)(J). Excluding these 44 days ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.