United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
OPINION AND ORDER
MYRON H. THOMPSON, District Judge.
This cause is before the court on defendant Antonio Darset King's 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."
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." § 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 or the attorney for the Government 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 King in a speedy trial. On February 5, the magistrate judge entered an order granting King's motion for a mental examination. Because the report on the medical examination is due within only 75 days of the time that King arrives at the court-appointed facility for the examination, it is unlikely that King will be returned to the Middle District of Alabama before the March 23 trial date. This unlikelihood, combined with the concern that both King and the government will need time to prepare for trial in light of the findings of the mental examination, persuades the court that a later trial date is necessary to allow adequate time for both King and the government to prepare for trial.
Accordingly, it is ORDERED as follows:
(1) Defendant Antonio Darset King's motion for continuance (doc. no. 92) is granted.
(2) The jury selection and trial, now set for March 23, are reset for August 31, 2015, at 10:00 a.m., in the G.W. Andrews Federal Building and United States ...