United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
October 17, 2014
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
YASHICA ROBINSON WHITE. M.D
OPINION AND ORDER
MYRON H. THOMPSON, District Judge.
This cause is before the court on defendant Yashica Robinson White's motion to continue. For the reasons set forth below, the court finds that jury selection and trial, now set for December 1, 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 interests of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial." 18 U.S.C. § 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." 18 U.S.C. § 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 White in a speedy trial. White represents that she is currently waiting to hear from the Department of Justice on the reconsideration of the government's denial of pre-trial diversion for her case and that her counsel cannot meaningfully advise her on all options until the completion of this review. Additionally, White contends that she needs additional time to investigate the implications of any plea or trial on her ability to practice medicine and maintain her livelihood. A continuance is warranted to provide additional time for White to hear from the Department and for her counsel to investigate the consequences of these proceedings on her future livelihood. Moreover, White has filed a waiver of her sixth amendment and speedy trial rights.
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Accordingly, it is ORDERED as follows:
(1) Defendant Yashica Robinson White's motion for continuance (doc. no. 24) is granted.
(2) The jury selection and trial, now set for December 1, 2014, are reset for March 23, 2015, at 10:00 a.m., at the Federal Courthouse, 701 Avenue A., Opelika, Alabama.