United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
August 29, 2014
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
OPINION AND ORDER
MYRON H. THOMPSON, District Judge.
This case is before the court on defendant Alex Lopez-Lopez's motion to continue. The government does not oppose the request. For the reasons set forth below, the court finds that jury selection and trial, now set for September 29, 2014, should be continued pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7).
While the granting of a continuance is left to the sound discretion of the trial judge, United States v. Stitzer , 785 F.2d 1506, 1516 (11th Cir. 1986), the court is limited by the requirements of the Speedy Trial Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3161. The Act provides in part:
"In any case in which a plea of not guilty is entered, 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). The Act excludes from the 70-day period any continuance based on "findings that the ends of justice served by taking such action outweigh the best interest of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial." § 3161(h)(7)(A). In granting a continuance, the court may consider, among other factors, whether the failure to grant the continuance would "result in a miscarriage of justice, " § 3161(h)(7)(B)(i), or "[w]hether the case is so unusual or so complex... that it is unreasonable to expect adequate preparation" without granting a continuance. § 3161(h)(7)(B)(ii).
The court concludes that, in this case, the ends of justice served by granting a continuance outweigh the interest of the public and defendant Lopez-Lopez in a speedy trial. Lopez-Lopez has been indicted for one count of illegal reentry. His attorney has filed a request with the federal government for an audio recording of his immigration hearing before an Immigration Judge. Such requests typically take three to five weeks. The recording could help the parties reach an agreement prior to trial. Given these circumstances, a continuance in this matter is appropriate.
* * *
Accordingly, it is ORDERED as follows:
(1) The motion to continue filed by defendant Alex Lopez-Lopez (doc. no. 16) is granted.
(2) The jury selection and trial for defendant Lopez-Lopez, now set for September 29, 2014, is reset for December 1, 2014, at 10:00 a.m., at the G.W. Andrews Federal Building and Courthouse, 701 Avenue A, Opelika, Alabama.