United States District Court, D. Maine
ORDER AMENDED  ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR
A. WOODCOCK, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
14, 2018, a federal grand jury indicted Quinton Spinks for
engaging in a drug trafficking conspiracy involving the
distribution of heroin and cocaine base. Indictment
(ECF No. 2). Mr. Spinks was arrested in the Western District
of New York and appeared before a magistrate judge on July
16, 2018. See Rule 5(c)(3) Docs. at 1 (ECF No. 60).
The Government moved for Mr. Spinks' detention and on
July 20, 2018, he waived his right to a Rule 5(c)(3) hearing
and was committed to the District of Maine. Id. On
August 6, 2018, the Government moved for Mr. Spinks'
pretrial detention. Mot. for Detention (ECF No. 68).
The Magistrate Judge held an initial appearance, attorney
appointment hearing, and arraignment on August 14, 2018.
Min. Entry (ECF No. 86). Mr. Spinks waived his right
to a detention hearing and the Magistrate Judge ordered him
Clerk's Office scheduled the case for trial on November
29, 2018 for the January 2019 term, on January 29, 2019 for
the March term, on February 28, 2019 for the April term, on
April 19, 2019 for the May term, on May 6, 2019 for the June
term, and on May 16, 2019 for the August term. Mr. Spinks has
repeatedly moved to continue these scheduled trials. Upon Mr.
Spinks' request, the Court scheduled a Rule 11 hearing
for his guilty plea for March 25, 2019, April 19, 2019, May
1, 2019, and May 20, 2019. For various reasons, mostly at Mr.
Spinks' request, the Court continued the Rule 11
hearings. For example, on April 16, 2019, the Clerk's
Office scheduled Mr. Spinks' Rule 11 at his request for
May 1, 2019, but on May 1, 2019, the day of the scheduled
hearing, Mr. Spinks moved to continue the Rule 11 hearing
because he needed to review more documents. Def.'s
Mot. to Continue Change of Plea Hr'g and Speedy Trial
Waiver (ECF No. 166).
6, 2019, the Clerk's Office reset the Rule 11 hearing at
Mr. Spinks' request for May 20, 2019. Notice of
Hr'g (ECF No. 173). On May 19, 2019, Mr. Spinks
filed a motion for release asking to be released from
incarceration to attend his grandfather's funeral in
Rochester, New York. Def.'s Mot. for Release to USMS
Custody for Transport to and From Grandfather's Funeral
at Def.'s Expense (ECF No. 178) (Def.'s
Mot.). At the scheduled Rule 11 hearing, despite the
fact the Court had scheduled the Rule 11 hearing at his
request four times, Mr. Spinks again stated that he was not
prepared to proceed with his guilty plea. Although his lawyer
had represented to the Court that the reason for the request
for a continuance was related to Mr. Spinks'
grandfather's death, this turned out to be inaccurate.
The reason, as finally revealed, was that Attorney Tzovarras
had a jury verdict in Aroostook County late on Friday, May
17, 2019 and was unable to meet with Mr. Spinks as planned on
Saturday, May 18, 2019 to prepare him for the Rule 11
scheduled for Monday, May 20, 2019.
Spinks' motion states that his grandfather died
“[o]n the week of May 13, 2019, ” that he had a
close relationship with his grandfather, that the wake and
funeral were scheduled for May 23, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. in
Rochester, New York, and that he wished to attend the wake
and funeral. Def.'s Mot. at 1-2. Mr. Spinks
represented that “through the help of his family,
” he could “arrange for the expensive (sic) of
the USMS to transport him to and from the services, and
remain with him during the service.” Id.
During the hearing, Mr. Spinks' counsel clarified that he
was asking to be allowed to attend a private viewing only,
not the funeral.
Court discussed Mr. Spinks' request with counsel at the
aborted Rule 11 hearing on May 20, 2019. The Court indicated
that it would be reluctant, over the Marshal Service's
objection, to order the Marshal Service to transport Mr.
Spinks over multiple state lines to attend a funeral
approximately five hundred miles away, especially on such
short notice. However, the Court ordered the Government to
file a memorandum, setting forth its position. The Government
did so on May 20, 2019. Gov't's Resp. to the
Def.'s Mot. for Transport Order (ECF No. 180)
(Gov't's Opp'n). Mr. Spinks replied on
May 21, 2019. Reply to Gov't's Resp. to Mot. for
Transport Order (ECF No. 181).
U.S.C. § 3142(i) controls the resolution of this motion:
The judicial officer may, by subsequent order, permit the
temporary release of the person, in the custody of the United
States marshal or another appropriate person, to the extent
that the judicial officer determines such release to be
necessary for preparation of the person's defense or for
another compelling reason.
Spinks has not claimed that the release to attend his
grandfather's funeral is necessary for the preparation of
his defense; therefore, the relevant question is whether it
is for “another compelling reason.”
analogous case, United States v. Kenney,
07-cv-66-B-W, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121233, at *5-7 (D. Me.
Dec. 30, 2009), applying the “exceptional
reasons” provision of 18 U.S.C. § 3145(c), the
Court wrote that “[f]rom the Court's perspective,
the death of a family member, even a close family member,
does not necessarily cross the threshold from common to
exceptional. The death of close family members, though
infrequent, is after all inevitable.” Id. at
*7. The only time this Court has ordered the release of a
defendant is in the Kenney case, where (1) the
defendant proposed release for a handful of hours, (2) she
did not propose remaining out of prison overnight, (3) the
wake and funeral were to take place within a relatively short
distance from the prison, (4) it would not be necessary for
her to cross or be near a state or national line, (5) her
crimes (to which she had pleaded guilty) did not militate
against release, and (6) her criminal history did not contain
any convictions for crimes of violence or escape.
Id. at *8.
similar standards apply under the “compelling
reason” language of § 3142(i) and the
“exceptional reasons” language of § 3142(i),
Mr. Spinks' request for release does not meet the narrow
circumstances in Kinney. Rochester, New York is
about nine hours of travel time away from the Somerset County
Jail in Skowhegan, Maine. To travel to Rochester from central
Maine, a person would have to travel through at least three
states: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and New York. Mr.
Spinks would have to be held somewhere overnight. Unlike Ms.
Kenney, Mr. Spinks has not demonstrated that his criminal
history is benign. According to the Pretrial Services Report,
Mr. Spinks has been convicted of robbery, resisting arrest,
petit larceny, criminal possession of a controlled substance,
aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle (three
convictions), and criminal possession of a weapon - a loaded
firearm other than in the person's home. Pretrial
Servs. Report at 2-5 (ECF No. 91).
in Kenney, finding no authority to compel the
Marshal's Service to transport the defendant, the Court
rejected her request for an order compelling the
Marshal's Service to do so. Kenney, 2009 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 121233, at *8. Mr. Spinks' proposal is for
the Court to order the Marshal Service to provide
transportation, something the Court concluded it would not
(and could not) do in Kenney. See Def.'s Mot. at
1 (“Mr. Spinks is only asking for release to the
custody of the USMS for transport to and from the funeral for
a private viewing”).
Kenney, the Court has rejected all similar requests.
United States v. Swan, No. 1:12-cr-00027-JAW, 2017
U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62260 (D. Me. Apr. 25, 2017); United
States v. Goss, No. 1:14-cr-00141-JAW (D. Me. Oct. 9,
2015); United States v. French, No. 12-cr-00160-JAW,
2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67523 (D. Me. May 19, 2015); United
States v. Boulier, No. 1:13-cr-00001-JAW, 2014 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 143826 (D. Me. Oct. 9, 2014).
the Government represented that Mr. Spinks' release would
contravene several Marshal Service policies regarding the
transportation of prisoners, including (1) the need to
perform a security check with local law enforcement, (2) an
advance investigation of the proposed destination, and (3)
the payment of costs of ...