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United States v. Robinson

United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia

December 27, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
TERRICK ROBINSON, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING AMENDED MOTION TO DISMISS (SPEEDY TRIAL ACT) [ECF NO. 124] AND MOTION TO DISMISS (SIXTH AMENDMENT) [ECF NO. 131]

          THOMAS S. KLEEH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On December 13, 2019, the Court held a motion hearing in the above-referenced matter. The parties argued the merits of multiple motions, including Defendant's Amended Motion to Dismiss - Speedy Trial Act [ECF No. 124] and his Motion to Dismiss - Sixth Amendment [ECF No. 131]. On December 17, 2019, during the pretrial conference, after providing the parties another opportunity to be heard on the issues, the Court notified the parties that it would deny both motions and articulated its reasons on the record. For those reasons and the reasons discussed herein, both motions are denied.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         On September 4, 2018, law enforcement conducted a controlled purchase of approximately one pound of methamphetamine in Room 202 of the Red Roof Inn in Fairmont, West Virginia. The confidential informant purchased the methamphetamine from Defendant Terrick Robinson (“Robinson”). After the purchase took place, Robinson drove away from the hotel. Following the controlled purchase, law enforcement filed a federal criminal complaint against Robinson and executed a federal arrest warrant upon him. Additionally, they executed a search warrant upon his vehicle. Officers also executed a search warrant upon Room 202 of the Red Roof Inn.

         In Room 202, officers encountered Co-Defendants William Gregory Chappell (“Chappell”) and Seddrick Banks (“Banks”). After learning the identities of Chappell and Banks, law enforcement learned that there was an outstanding fugitive warrant for Banks from the State of Georgia. Banks was arrested and taken into state custody. Two days later, on September 6, 2018, the United States filed federal criminal complaints against Chappell and Banks. A federal detainer was lodged against Banks.

         On October 3, 2018, the grand jury returned a six-count Indictment against Robinson, Chappell, and Banks.[1] The charges related to distribution of drugs and possession of firearms. Although Robinson and Chappell were already in federal custody, they were arraigned on the Indictment on October 9, 2018. Banks remained in Georgia, awaiting trial on state charges. On March 19, 2019, the grand jury returned an 11-count Superseding Indictment, adding multiple charges and a new defendant: Joel Jiminez (“Jiminez”).[2] Robinson and Chappell were arraigned on the Superseding Indictment on March 27, 2019, and April 4, 2019, respectively. Banks, again, remained in Georgia.

         As of September 30, 2019, a trial date had not been set. On September 30, 2019, Robinson filed a Motion to Dismiss - Speedy Trial Act [ECF No. 123]. On October 1, 2019, he filed an Amended Motion to Dismiss - Speedy Trial Act [ECF No. 124]. On October 28, 2019, he filed a Motion to Dismiss - Sixth Amendment [ECF No. 131]. The Magistrate Judge conducted an initial appearance and arraignment of Banks on November 20, 2019. The same day, the Court set trial for January 7, 2020.

         II. MOTION TO DISMISS - SIXTH AMENDMENT

         A. Governing Law

         The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States provides that “[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial[.]” This right is separate and distinct from a defendant's right under the Speedy Trial Act. See United States v. Woolfolk, 399 F.3d 590, 594-98 (4th Cir. 2005). To establish a Sixth Amendment speedy trial violation, “a defendant first must show that the Sixth Amendment's protections have been activated by an ‘arrest, indictment, or official accusation.'” United States v. Dixon, 542 Fed.Appx. 273, 279 (4th Cir. 2013). When such a qualifying event has happened, the Court then engages in a four-part test set forth in Barker v. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514 (1972):

(1) whether the delay was uncommonly long;
(2) the reason for the delay;
(3) whether the defendant asserted his right to a speedy ...

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