Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

UNITED STATES v. MAURO

May 17, 1976

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
JOHN MAURO, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BARTELS

BARTELS, District Judge

 In this proceeding the Court is confronted with the difficult question of interpreting a federal statute in a manner which, according to the express meaning, raises in the mind of the Court grave doubts as to whether its objectives could have been accomplished in a more practical manner. The facts appear as follows.

 On December 12, 1974, the defendant, John Mauro, was sentenced to a term of imprisonment for three years to life by the State of New York. On May 7, 1975, while in the custody of the State of New York, he was subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury sitting in the Eastern District of New York and was produced pursuant to a Writ of Habeas Corpus Ad Testificandum. The defendant received a grant of immunity signed on May 12, 1975, by Judge Costantino. Subsequently, when the defendant refused to answer questions before the grand jury, after having been ordered to do so by Judge Costantino, he was held in civil contempt and sentenced to a prison term of six months or the life of the grand jury, whichever was longer, upon the condition that he could purge himself by testifying at any time during the grand jury term. The defendant having continued his refusal to testify, the United States, on July 9, 1975, lodged a detainer against him at the Auburn Correctional Facility charging him with contempt of court, and thereafter on July 30, 1975, he was returned to the custody of the State of New York. On November 11, 1975, the defendant was indicted in the Eastern District of New York for criminal contempt of court in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 401.

 Pursuant to a Writ of Habeas Corpus Ad Prosequendum, issued on November 5, 1975, the defendant was thereafter produced in the Eastern District on November 24, 1975, and on December 2, 1975, he was arraigned on the indictment and pled not guilty. On that date, to accommodate the defendant's counsel, the trial date was set for March 17, 1976, after the Court offered the dates of February 4, 1976, February 9, 1976, and March 3, 1976. On December 11, 1975, the defendant was again returned to state custody without having been tried on the charge of criminal contempt. Subsequently, on April 23, 1976, the defendant was again produced in Federal court pursuant to a Writ of Habeas Corpus Ad Prosequendum, issued on April 14, 1976, for the purpose of trial.

 In 1970 Congress adopted, on behalf of the United States and the District of Columbia, the Interstate Agreement on Detainers, 18 U.S.C. Appendix ("Agreement"), which, along with similar enactments in thirty-nine states, provides a uniform procedure whereby each of the participating jurisdictions can readily obtain the presence of criminal defendants incarcerated in other participating jurisdictions. It is the interpretation of Article IV of the Agreement with which this Court is now concerned. However, to understand that Article, reference must be made to Article III which provides that when one jurisdiction files a detainer on a defendant incarcerated in another jurisdiction the existence of that detainer must be made known to the defendant who then has the option of demanding in writing a trial on the charges in the other jurisdiction forming the basis of the detainer. If the defendant makes such a demand to the proper authorities he must be transferred to the jurisdiction filing the detainer and must thereafter be tried within 180 days of the formal written demand or the indictment must be dismissed. Article IV provides that the jurisdiction filing the detainer may at its option request the custody of the defendant for the purpose of trial even if the defendant has not made a written demand for trial pursuant to Article III. In such event, however, a trial on the charges forming the basis of the detainer must, under Article IV(c), be commenced within 120 days of the defendant's arrival in the receiving jurisdiction. Article IV(e) further provides:

 
"If trial is not had on any indictment, information, or complaint contemplated hereby prior to the prisoner's being returned to the original place of imprisonment pursuant to Article V(e), hereof, such indictment, information, or complaint shall not be of any further force or effect, and the court shall enter an order dismissing the same with prejudice."

 The defendant now moves for an order dismissing the indictment pursuant to Article IV(e) of the Agreement on the ground that the Government failed to try him on the federal charges before returning him to state custody in violation of that Article, and on the further ground that at the time he was held in civil contempt he was not advised of the Government's contemplated indictment for criminal contempt.

 As set forth in Article I of the Agreement, the policy and purposes of the Agreement are to insure the speedy trial of a defendant subject to charges in another jurisdiction by way of a detainer, to eliminate the adverse effects upon programs of prisoner treatment and rehabilitation caused by uncertainty surrounding those charges, and to create cooperative procedures to secure the presence of defendants incarcerated in other jurisdictions. See also 3 U.S. Code Cong. & Adm. News 4864 (1970). More specifically, the Agreement was executed to eliminate the problem which arose when one jurisdiction tried, convicted and incarcerated a defendant and thereafter another jurisdiction lodged a detainer against the individual and simply waited to try the defendant after his release from the custody of the first jurisdiction. Often this procedure caused the delay of a trial for many years and, in addition, provided a Damoclean Sword over the defendant which would not only have an adverse psychological impact upon the defendant but would also impede the efforts of the incarcerating jurisdiction to rehabilitate the defendant since, among other things, it would render the defendant ineligible for probation or parole. United States ex rel. Esola v. Groomes, 520 F.2d 830, 836-7 (3d Cir. 1975); United States v. Cappucci, 342 F. Supp. 790 (E.D.Pa. 1972); 116 Cong. Rec. 14000 (1970). As indicated above, the predicate for the defendant's motion is the fact that he was produced in this Court on November 24, 1975 pursuant to a writ and was returned to state custody on December 11, 1975 without being tried.

 I

 In opposition the Government argues that when Congress adopted the Agreement on behalf of the United States it did so only as a sending state and not as a receiving state. Therefore it is argued that when the United States receives a state prisoner for the purpose of trial, it is not subject to the sanctions imposed by Article IV because it did not adopt the Agreement as a receiving state. In support of its position the Government asserts that the legislative history demonstrates that when Congress adopted the Agreement it was solely concerned with making a procedure available to the states for securing the presence of federal prisoners so that the states could satisfy the speedy trial requirements of the Constitution as mandated by the Supreme Court in Smith v. Hooey, 393 U.S. 374, 21 L. Ed. 2d 607, 89 S. Ct. 575 (1969), and Dickey v. Florida, 398 U.S. 30, 26 L. Ed. 2d 26, 90 S. Ct. 1564 (1970). Because a federal Writ of Habeas Corpus Ad Prosequendum issued pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 is valid legal process throughout the United States binding against the states for the purpose of obtaining custody of state prisoners for a federal trial, Carbo v. United States, 364 U.S. 611, 5 L. Ed. 2d 329, 81 S. Ct. 338 (1961), the Government asserts that it was unnecessary for the United States to adopt the Agreement as a receiving state. Furthermore, it claims that Congress never intended to restrict the effect of 28 U.S.C. § 2241 or to alter the delicate federal-state relationship under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, Article VI. We cannot agree.

 Nowhere in the text of the Agreement or in the prefatory enabling portions of its enactment is there any specific indication that the United States was becoming a limited participant as a sending state. In fact, the text itself suggests that the United States entered into the Agreement on the same terms as all other participating states. Article II(a) defines the term "State" to mean:

 
"a State of the United States; the United States of America; a territory or possession of the United States; the District of Columbia; the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico." [Emphasis added.]

 See United States v. Cappucci, supra. Article II(c) defines a "receiving state" as a " State in which trial is to be had on an indictment, information, or complaint pursuant to article III or article IV hereof." [Emphasis added.] Certainly under the express wording of the Agreement itself the United States is a receiving state and there is nothing in the Agreement excluding the United States from that status. In fact, for the purposes of an Article III request by a state prisoner for trial on federal charges the United States has been treated as a receiving state subject to the sanctions imposed by that Article. See United States v. Mason, 372 F. Supp. 651 (N.D.Ohio 1973).

 Nor does the legislative history, which is sparse at best, alter this result. While it appears from the Senate Report that Congress was obviously responding to the need of the states for a procedure to secure the presence of federal prisoners in order to provide a speedy trial on their state charges and to escape the effect of the rulings in Smith v. Hooey, supra, and Dickey v. Florida, supra, the report also indicates that "the agreement shall enter into full force and effect as to a party 'State' when such State has enacted the same into law." [Emphasis added.] 3 U.S. Code Cong. & Adm. News 4864, 4866 (1970). Nowhere in the legislative history does Congress indicate that the United States is under any lesser obligation as a "State" than other states adopting the Agreement or that the Agreement has less than full force and effect against the United States as a "State" as that term is defined in the Agreement. In fact, in a ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.