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UNITED STATES v. MEJIAS

May 24, 1976

UNITED STATES of America
v.
Rev. Alberto MEJIAS et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CARTER

ROBERT L. CARTER, District Judge.

 Defendants Rev. Alberto Mejias, Mario Navas, Estella Navas, Henry Cifuentes-Rojas, Jose Ramirez-Rivera, Manuel Francisco Padilla Martinez and Francisco Cadena *fn1" have moved for an order, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3164(b) and (c), releasing them from custody. The motion is denied. Because of the critical importance of the issues raised on this motion to the administration of the criminal justice system, and because of the apparent conflict between the opinions expressed herein and a decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, it is my hope that the Court of Appeals of this Circuit will agree to an expedited consideration of these issues so that they can be authoritatively resolved for the circuit.

 Facts

 On February 19, 1976, the moving defendants were indicted by the government and charged with conspiracy and various substantive violations of the federal drug laws. On the same day, the moving defendants were arrested by federal agents and taken into federal custody. No state detainer is presently lodged against any defendant. Each of the moving defendants has been unable to post the required bail and has been incarcerated in continuous federal custody since their arrest on February 19, 1976. On May 17, 1976, hearings on various pretrial motions were commenced. These hearings are still in progress and will continue right up until the commencement of trial. *fn2"

 Discussion

 The Speedy Trial Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-619), 18 U.S.C. § 3161 et seq., provides in § 3164 as follows:

 " § 3164. Interim limits

 (a) During an interim period commencing ninety days following July 1, 1975 and ending on the date immediately preceding the date on which the time limits provided for under section 3161(b) and section 3161(c) of this chapter become effective, each district shall place into operation an interim plan to assure priority in the trial or other disposition of cases involving -

 (1) detained persons who are being held in detention solely because they are awaiting trial.

 . . .

 (b) During the period such plan is in effect, the trial of any person who falls within subsection (a)(1) . . . of this section shall commence no later than ninety days following the beginning of such continuous detention . . . . The trial of any person so detained: on or before the first day of the interimperiod shall commence no later than ninety days following the first day of the interim period.

 (c) Failure to commence trial of a detainee as specified in subsection (b), through no fault of the accused or his counsel . . . shall result in the automatic review by the court of the conditions of release. No detainee, as defined in subsection (a), shall be held in custody pending trial after the expiration of such ninety-day period required for the commencement of his trial."

 Pursuant to the requirements of Rule 50(b), F.R.Crim.P., and in conformity with the provisions of the Speedy Trial Act of 1974, the judges of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York adopted the "Interim Plan Pursuant To The Provisions Of The Speedy Trial Act of 1974" (hereinafter the "Interim Plan"). *fn3" ...


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