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United States v. Smith

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

September 29, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
PETRA SMITH

OPINION AND ORDER

MYRON H. THOMPSON, District Judge.

This case is before the court on defendant Petra Smith's motion to continue. For the reasons set forth below, the court finds that jury selection and trial, now set for October 6, 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 Smith in a speedy trial. Smith has been indicted for copyright infringement, pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 506(a)(1)(A) and 18 U.S.C. § 2319(a), (b), and for aiding and abetting the smuggling of counterfeit goods into the United States, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 545. She has applied for pretrial diversion and has requested additional time for the government to respond. Given these circumstances, a continuance in this matter is appropriate.

* * *

Accordingly, it is ORDERED as follows:

(1) The motion to continue filed by defendant Petra Smith (doc. no. 27) is granted.
(2) The jury selection and trial for defendant Smith, now set for October 6, 2014, are reset for November 17, 2014, at 10:00 a.m., in Courtroom 2FMJ of the Frank M. Johnson Jr. United States Courthouse Complex, One Church Street, Montgomery, Alabama.

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