United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
March 19, 2015
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
FREDDIE LEE PARKER, JR
OPINION AND ORDER
MYRON H. THOMPSON, District Judge.
This cause is before the court on defendant Freddie Lee Parker, Jr.'s motion to continue. The government does not oppose the motion. For the reasons set forth below, the court finds that jury selection and trial, now set for April 6, 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 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 Parker in a speedy trial. Parker's counsel represents that he needs additional time to interview several eyewitnesses and that locating these individuals has proven difficult due to the long passage of time between the date of the alleged incidents and Parker's indictment. The court has been given reasonable cause to believe that this additional investigation must be conducted before defense counsel can adequately advise Parker. A continuance is warranted to enable Parker's counsel to complete this investigation.
* * *
Accordingly, it is ORDERED as follows:
(1) Defendant Freddie Lee Parker, Jr.'s motion for to continue trial (doc. no. 20) is granted.
(2) The jury selection and trial, now set for April 6, 2015, are reset for July 27, 2015, at 10:00 a.m., in Courtroom 2FMJ of the Frank M. Johnson Jr. United States Courthouse Complex, One Church Street, Montgomery, Alabama.