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United States v. Crawley

United States District Court, Middle District of North Carolina

May 13, 2015




This matter is before the Court on Defendant Arthur Dejuan Crawley’s Motion to Dismiss [Doc. #10], filed on April 15, 2015. Defendant argues that his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial, his right to due process under the Fifth Amendment, and Rule 48(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in conjunction with the Court’s supervisory powers, justify the dismissal of his Indictment. The Court held a hearing on the Motion on May 5, 2015. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Court denied Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss. This Order confirms and provides additional detail supporting the pronounced Order of the Court.


On May 27, 2014, a grand jury returned a one-count Indictment charging Defendant with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2). An arrest warrant was issued in connection to the Indictment. It is alleged that the actions resulting in the Indictment occurred on October 13, 2013. On October 31, 2013, however, at the time of Defendant’s arrest by the Durham, North Carolina Police Department based on those actions, Defendant had an outstanding warrant in Brooklyn, New York for a parole violation. As a result, Defendant was transferred to New York to serve his term in New York state prison for his parole violation.

On June 23, 2014, Defendant was notified by the New York Department of Corrections that a detainer was lodged against him based on the arrest warrant issued in relation to the Indictment. Defendant asserts that on June 24, 2014, he sent letters to United States Attorney Ripley Rand and this Court asking for appointment of counsel, but he did not receive a response. On October 31, 2014, after Defendant completed his sentence in New York for his parole violation, Defendant was arrested based on the Indictment at issue in this case. On that same day, Defendant had his initial appearance before a Magistrate Judge in the Northern District of New York. At that time, he requested and was granted appointment of counsel for purposes of his initial appearance in New York. During his initial appearance, Defendant waived his Rule 5(c)(3) rights, including his right to an identity hearing, preliminary hearing, and detention hearing in that district.

Defendant alleges that on December 3, 2014, he was transferred to the Orange County Detention Center in North Carolina. The Government asserts that it was notified on December 22, 2014, by the United States Marshals that Defendant was in the Middle District of North Carolina. At that time, the Government asserts that it provided notice to the Clerk of Court’s Office of Defendant’s arrival. The Government, however, asserts that by some error Defendant was not placed on the Court’s calendar in this district until March 19, 2015. On March 19, 2015, Defendant appeared before Magistrate Judge Joi E. Peake. At that time, the Magistrate Judge recognized the delay in bringing the Defendant before the Court and directed the Clerk’s Office to undertake additional measures to ensure that the Court is promptly notified of individuals who are transferred into the district.


Defendant has now filed a Motion to Dismiss his Indictment based on the delay explained above. In his Motion, Defendant argues that the delay entitles him to dismissal pursuant to: (1) his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial; (2) his right to due process under the Fifth Amendment; and (3) Rule 48(b) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and the Court’s supervisory powers. These three arguments will be addressed in turn.

A. Sixth Amendment Speedy Trial Right

Defendant first argues that, while his rights under the Speedy Trial Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3161 et. seq., were not technically violated, Defendant’s right to a speedy trial pursuant to the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution was violated due to the delay between Defendant’s initial appearance in the Northern District of New York and his arraignment in the Middle District of North Carolina. In response, the Government argues that the factors used to evaluate a defendant’s speedy trial claim do not weight in favor of dismissal.

Pursuant to the Sixth Amendment, defendants “shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial.” U.S. Const. amend. VI. These protections are triggered by “arrest, indictment, or other official accusation[.]” Doggett v. United States, 505 U.S. 647, 655, 112 S.Ct. 2686, 120 L.Ed.2d 520 (1992). In analyzing a defendant’s speedy trial argument, a court is to look at the following four factors: “whether delay before trial was uncommonly long, whether the government or the criminal defendant is more to blame for that delay, whether, in due course, the defendant asserted his right to a speedy trial, and whether he suffered prejudice as the delay’s result.” Id. at 651 (citing Barker v. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514, 530, 92 S.Ct. 2182, 33 L.Ed.2d 101 (1972)).

The first factor, however, has two parts. First, a court must determine whether the time between “accusation and trail has crossed the threshold dividing ordinary from ‘presumptively prejudicial’ delay[.]” Id. 650–51 (citing Barker, 470 U.S. at 530–31). If the defendant makes this showing, the court must then look at “the extent to which the delay stretches beyond the bare minimum needed to trigger judicial examination of the claim.” Id. at 651 (citing Barker, 470 U.S. at 533–34). A delay approaching one year is considered presumptively prejudicial. United States v. Hall, 551 F.3d 257, 271 (4th Cir. 2009).

In this instance, the Indictment, which is the official accusation in this matter, was returned against Defendant on May 27, 2014. Defendant is currently scheduled for the Court’s May trial calendar, which begins on May 11, 2015. Accordingly, less than one year will have passed prior to Defendant being tried on the accusations contained in the Indictment. While this time period certainly approaches a year, it is worth noting that from at least May 27, 2014 through October 31, 2014, Defendant was in the custody of the state of New York. Nonetheless, because the time period between the Indictment being filed and Defendant’s trial will approach a year, the Court finds that based on Fourth Circuit case law, the time period is presumptively prejudicial requiring a review of the remaining factors. See United States v. Woolfolk, 399 F.3d 590, 597 (4th Cir. 2005) (finding a seven month delay in a non-complex case to be presumptively prejudicial). The Court, however, notes that despite finding that the delay is presumptively prejudicial, the delay only barely qualifies for a review of the remaining factors.

The second factor looks at who is at fault for the delay, which is also examined in the context of the reasons for the delay. See Hall, 551 F.3d at 272 (stating that the second factor of Barker to be examined is the reasons for the trial delay). Courts should characterize the reasons for the delay “as either valid, improper, or neutral.” Id. The intent of the prosecution should be the focus of this inquiry. Id. In this instance, there are three different delays to examine. First, the delay between May 27, 2014, and October 31, 2014 was a valid delay, as Defendant was currently in the custody of the State of New York. See United States v. Thomas, 55 F.3d 144, 150 (4th Cir. 1995) (finding that the need to allow the defendant to be ...

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