United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
ORDER ON ARRAIGNMENT
RUSS WALKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
February 26, 2019 the defendant, James Chaffin
Ballard, appeared in person and in open court with
counsel, Donnie Bethel and was arraigned in accordance with
the provisions of Rule 10 of the Federal Rules of Criminal
The defendant entered a plea of NOT GUILTY.
Counsel for the defendant is requested to contact the U.S.
Attorney immediately if the defendant intends to engage in
plea negotiations. If the defendant decides to change this
plea, the parties shall file a notice of intent to plead
guilty or otherwise notify the clerk's office at or
before the pretrial conference and then this action will be
set on a plea docket.
SENTENCING GUIDELINES INFORMATION. The court no
longer requires the United States Probation Office to provide
preliminary sentencing guideline information to defendants.
However, in difficult or complex cases defendants may request
the United States Probation Office to provide Sentencing
Guideline calculation assistance with the understanding that
any estimate is tentative only and is not binding on the
United States Probation Office, the parties or the court. The
court expects that requests for Sentencing Guideline
calculation assistance shall be the exception and that
defendants will not make such requests a matter of routine. A
request for Sentencing Guideline calculation assistance shall
be made to the United States Probation Office not later than
10 days from the date of this order.
CONFERENCE. An initial pretrial conference is
hereby set for April 17, 2019, at 9:30 a.m.,
Courtroom 5A, before Chief United States Magistrate
Judge Wallace Capel, Jr., United States Courthouse, One
Church Street, Montgomery, Alabama. Not later than
three (3) days prior to the date of the pretrial conference,
counsel shall confer about the issues and matters to be
discussed at the pretrial conference as set forth in this
order. Counsel who want in-custody defendants to
attend must notify the Magistrate Judge within three days of
the conference date so that an order to produce can be issued
to the United States Marshal.
pretrial conference defense counsel and counsel for the
government shall be fully prepared to discuss all pending
motions, the status of discovery, possible stipulations, and
the estimated length of the trial. The defense counsel and
counsel for the government shall be fully prepared to provide
a definite commitment as to the final disposition of this
case - by trial, plea or other non-trial disposition. If
resolution of a dispositive motion will affect the nature of
this commitment, counsel must be fully prepared to discuss
this type of resolution. If the case is for plea, the notice
of intent to enter a plea should be filed at the time of the
pretrial conference. If counsel require additional time for
plea negotiations, counsel should be prepared to inform the
court about the date when those negotiations will be
This case is set for trial before United States
District Judge W. Keith Watkins on the trial term
beginning on July 29, 2019,  at 10:00
a.m., in Opelika, Alabama, unless
otherwise ordered by the court.
setting this case for trial on the term indicated above, the
court recognizes that the Speedy Trial Act places limits on
the court's discretion, and that under the act, the trial
of a defendant must commence within 70 days of the date of
the indictment or the date of the defendant's first
appearance before a judicial officer, whichever is later. 18
U.S.C. § 3161(c)(1). In determining whether a case
should be set after the expiration of the 70 day period, a
court must consider among other factors “[w]hether the
failure to [set the case at a later date] . . . would be
likely to . . . result in a miscarriage of justice.” 18
U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(B)(I). The court also must consider
“whether the failure to grant such a continuance . . .
would deny counsel for the defendant or the attorney for the
government the reasonable time necessary for effective
preparation, taking into account the exercise of due
diligence.” 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(B)(iv). Based
on the nature of this case, the parties' need for
adequate time for discovery and the need for counsel to have
adequate time for trial preparation, the court finds that the
ends of justice served by setting this case on this trial
term outweigh the best interest of the public and the
defendant in a speedy trial. Any requested voir dire
questions and jury instructions must be filed no later than
one week before jury selection.
MOTIONS. All pretrial motions under
Fed.R.Crim.P. 12(b) and (d), 14 and 16, all notices under
Fed.R.Crim.P. 12.1, 12.2 and 12.3, and any motion to compel
pursuant to M.D. Ala. LCrR 16.1 Criminal
Discovery (a copy of this Rule may be found at
http://www.almd.uscourts.gov/forms/almd-local-rules) must be
filed no later than TWO WEEKS FROM THE DATE OF THIS
ORDER. No motion filed after this date will be
considered unless filed with leave of court. Unless otherwise
ordered by the court, the continuance of the trial of a case
will not extend the time for filing pretrial motions.
THE CONFERENCING REQUIREMENT SET FORTH IN M.D. Ala.
LCrR 16.1(c) CRIMINAL DISCOVERY SHALL BE MET BEFORE THE COURT
WILL CONSIDER ANY DISCOVERY MOTION. THE COURT WILL NOT GRANT
MOTIONS TO ADOPT MOTIONS FILED BY OTHER DEFENDANTS.
to suppress must allege specific facts which, if proven,
would provide a basis of relief. This court will summarily
dismiss suppression motions which are supported only by
general or conclusory assertions founded on mere suspicion or
conjecture. All grounds upon which the defendant
relies must be specifically stated in the motion in
separately numbered paragraphs in a section of the motion
which is labeled "Issues Presented." Grounds not
stated in the "Issues Presented" section of the
motion will be deemed to have been waived. See
generally United States v. Richardson, 764 F.2d 1514,
1526-27 (11th Cir. 1985).
government shall file a response to all
motions filed by the defendant on or before five days
prior to the date set for a hearing on the motion
or, if no hearing is necessary, on or before ten (10)
days after the date of the pretrial conference.
All discovery in this action shall be conducted according to
the requirements of M.D. Ala. LCrR 16.1 Criminal
Discovery. Unless the government provided initial
disclosures to defendant prior to or at arraignment, the
government is ORDERED to tender initial
disclosures to the defendant on or before February
26, 2019. Disclosures by the defendant, as required
by M.D. Ala. LCrR 16.1(a)(4) shall be
provided on or before March 5, 2019.
ACT STATEMENTS. The government agrees to
provide defense counsel with all Jencks Act statements no
later than the day scheduled for the commencement of the
APPEARANCE OF COUNSEL. Counsel of record for
all parties are ORDERED to appear at all
future court proceedings in this criminal case. Those
attorneys who find it impossible to be in attendance
(especially at the pretrial conference, jury selection, or
trial) must make arrangements to have substitute counsel
appear on behalf of their clients. Any attorney who appears
as substitute counsel for a defendant shall have full
authorization from the defendant to act on his or her behalf
and be fully prepared to proceed. Substitute counsel shall
not be counsel for a co-defendant ...