United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
October 16, 2014
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
JOHN W. MITCHELL
OPINION AND ORDER
MYRON H. THOMPSON, District Judge.
This cause is before the court on defendant John W. Mitchell's unopposed motion to continue. For the reasons set forth below, the court finds that jury selection and trial, now set for March 23, 2015, 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."
§ 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 such a continuance, the court may consider, among other factors, whether the failure to grant the continuance "would deny counsel for the defendant... reasonable time necessary for effective preparation, taking into account the exercise of due diligence." § 3161(h)(7)(B)(iv).
The court concludes that, in this case, the ends of justice served by granting a continuance outweigh the interest of the public and that of Mitchell in a speedy trial. The court has been given reasonable cause to believe that, in order to be prepared effectively for trial, Mitchell's counsel needs further time to conduct discovery and prepare pre-trial motions. Because of the complexity of this case and the initial difficulties concerning the production of patient records, a continuance is warranted to enable the defendant to prepare effectively for trial.
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Accordingly, it is ORDERED as follows:
(1) Defendant John W. Mitchell's motion for continuance (doc. no. 31) is granted.
(2) The jury selection and trial, now set for March 23, 2015, are reset for August 31, 2015, at 10:00 a.m., in the G.W. Andrews Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse, 701 Avenue A, Opelika, Alabama.