United States District Court, D. Maine
ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS
Torresen United States Chief District Judge
me is Defendant's motion to dismiss due to speedy trial
violations (ECF No. 45). The Defendant argues that a
combination of pre-indictment delay and unduly lengthy
post-indictment detention requires dismissal of the
Indictment. The Government opposes the motion. Based on my
review of the written motion, I will DENY the motion for
reasons explained herein.
March 12, 2015, the Defendant pled guilty in the United
States District Court for the District of Vermont to an
information charging him with conspiracy to distribute heroin
in 2013. On August 24, 2015, the Defendant was sentenced to
37 months imprisonment and three years of supervised release.
The Defendant was released to a Halfway House in Albany, New
York on November 30, 2016. According to the Pretrial Services
Report prepared in this case, the Defendant's projected
release date from Bureau of Prisons custody was March 19,
2017. Pretrial Services Report 1 (ECF No. 15).
Indictment in this case was filed on December 14, 2016. The
Indictment alleges that on about March 29, 2014, the
Defendant knowingly transported an individual in interstate
commerce with the intent that she engage in prostitution and
aiding and abetting the same in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
2421 and § 2. Indictment (ECF No. 2). The Clerk of Court
issued a warrant for the Defendant's arrest on December
15, 2016. Arrest Warrant (ECF No. 7). The date that the
Defendant was arrested on the warrant is in dispute. The
Defendant contends that he was arrested on December 20, 2016.
Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss 4. The Government contends that
the Bureau of Prisons merely moved him from his halfway house
placement to a secured facility after they learned of the
warrant for his arrest on new charges. Obj. to Def.'s
Mot. to Dismiss 4. (ECF No. 48). The docket entries from the
Northern District of New York, where the Defendant made his
initial appearance, reflect that the Rule 5(c)(3) arrest of
the Defendant occurred on January 9, 2017. United States
District Court for the Northern District of New York Docket
Sheet (ECF No. 11-1). Miller waived his right to a
preliminary detention hearing in that district, instead
requesting that such hearing be held in the prosecuting
district. Waiver of Rule 5 and 5.1 Hearings (ECF No. 11-3).
The Defendant was ordered transported to the District of
Maine. Commitment to Another District (ECF No. 11-4).
Defendant first appeared in the District of Maine on February
28, 2017. First Appearance (ECF No. 17). The Court continued
the detention hearing several times either on the
Defendant's motion or a joint motion of the parties.
Def.'s Mots. to Continue (ECF Nos. 23, 27 and 33). At the
March 20, 2017, detention hearing the Government withdrew its
motion for detention and the Defendant was released on
conditions that day. (ECF Nos. 38, 41).
Defendant argues that a combination of pre-indictment delay
and unreasonably long post-indictment detention requires
dismissal of the Indictment under Federal Rule of Criminal
Procedure 48(b), the Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause, and
the Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial. I will address
each argument in turn.
Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 48(b)
Rule 48 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, courts
have supervisory authority to “dismiss an indictment,
information, or complaint if unnecessary delay occurs in: (1)
presenting a charge to a grand jury; (2) filing an
information against a defendant; or (3) bringing a defendant
to trial.” Fed. R. Crim. P. 48(b). The Defendant asks
me to exercise my discretion to dismiss the indictment
against him pursuant to Rule 48(b) because the indictment is
dated December 14, 2016, which is more than 32 months after
the date of the alleged criminal conduct. The Court of
Appeals for the First Circuit, however, has held that Rule 48
applies only to post-arrest delay. See, e.g., United
States v. McCoy, 977 F.2d 706, 712 & n. 6 (1st Cir.
1992) (“Rule 48(b) is limited in application to
post-arrest delay.” (citing United States v.
Marion, 404 U.S. 307, 319 (1971))).
Defendant's post-arrest delay - now less than six months
with only three months spent in pre-trial detention - does
not amount to the type of extreme delay which would warrant
relief under Rule 48.
Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause
Defendant also seeks dismissal of the indictment on the
alternative ground that the 32-month pre-indictment delay
violated his rights under the Fifth Amendment. Marion,
404 U.S. at 324. As the First Circuit has explained,
[T]he Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment has a limited
role to play in protecting against oppressive
[pre-indictment] delay. The Due Process Clause has only a
limited role in this context because the statutes of
limitations provide the primary protection against undue
pre-indictment delays. To rise to the level of a due process
violation despite the applicable statute of limitations not
having run, the delay (1) must have caused substantial
prejudice to [defendant's] rights ...