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United States v. Roy

August 26, 1985


Appeal from a judgment of the District Court for the District of Connecticut (Robert C. Zampano, Judge) convicting defendant of federal firearms charges upon his plea of guilty with reservation of right to appeal based on alleged violations of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers. Affirmed.

Author: Newman

Before: MESKILL, NEWMAN, and KEARSE, Circuit Judges.

JON O. NEWMAN, Circuit Judge:

The Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act (the "Agreement"), 18 U.S.C. app. pp. 545-48 (1982), provides a mechanism by which a prosecutor in one jurisdiction, the "receiving state," id. art. II (c), may secure the presence of a prisoner who is serving a sentence in another jurisdiction, the "sending state, id. art. II (b), in order to try him on charges pending in the receiving state, id. art. IV (a). Once the receiving state commences criminal proceedings through this mechanism, the Agreement affords the prisoner certain protections. Article IV (c) provides that the prisoner's trial in the receiving state must be commended within 120 days of his arrival there. Article IV (e) provides that, once the receiving state obtains custody of the prisoner, it must try him prior to returning him to his "original place of imprisonment." In this case, defendant-appellant Michael Roy seeks dismissal of a federal indictment charging him with three counts of unlawful possession of firearms on the ground that, in proceeding against him on those charges, the Government violated his rights under articles IV (c) and IV (e) of the Agreement. The District Court for the District of Connecticut (Robert C. Zampano, Judge) rejected Roy's arguments and, accordingly, denied his motion to dismiss the indictment. United States v. Roy, 597 F. Supp. 1210 (D. Conn. 1984). Roy subsequently pled guilty reserving for appeal his claims arising under the Agreement.*fn1 We affirm.


Since the District Court's opinion carefully recounts the chronology of the events leading up to this appeal, 597 F. Supp. at 1212-13, a summary identifying the sequence of critical dates will suffice here. On December 3, 1982, Rocky Hill, Connecticut, police officers arrested Roy on state charges of attempted robbery. A search of Roy's car disclosed two sawed-off shotguns and a pistol, possession of which formed the basis for the federal charges in this case. Following his arrest on the state charges, Roy was incarcerated as a pretrial state prisoner, first in the Hartford Community Correctional Center ("Hartford CCC") and later in the Connecticut Correctional Institution at Somers ("Somers CCI" or "Somers"), to which he was transferred on December 16. On January 27, 1983, the State of Connecticut revoked Roy's parole on a prior state conviction, and he resumed serving his state sentence. On February 24, 1983, a federal grand jury indicted Roy on the federal firearms charges. 18 U.S.C. app. § 1202 (1982); 26 U.S.C. §§ 5861, 5871 (1982). The United States Marshal's Service mailed a detainer based on the indictment to Hartford CCC. Officials at Hartford CCC forwarded the detainer to Somers CCI, where it was lodged against Roy on March 3, 1983.*fn2

Previously, on February 28, 1983, the Government had obtained a writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum ("writ") and an "order to produce" based on the writ directing that Roy be produced before the District Court in Bridgeport.*fn3 Roy was initially produced for arraignment on March 2, 1983, and returned to Somers the same day, one day before the detainer was lodged against him. The events giving rise to Roy's claim that the Government violated article IV (e) took place on April 4 and 5, 1983. On April 4, pursuant to another "order to produce" based on the writ, Roy was brought before the District Court for a hearing on his motion to suppress the weapons seized from his car. The hearing ended after 5:00 p.m. The marshals decided not to return Roy to Somers that night because, knowing Roy had escaped from the custody of federal marshals in Illinois, they believed that it would be imprudent to undertake after dark the three-hour journey from Bridgeport to Somers. The marshals were also concerned that, if Roy was returned to Somers at night, he would be deprived of an evening meal. Accordingly, with the approval of officials at Somers CCI, Roy was lodged overnight at the Bridgeport jail and returned to Somers at 12:30 p.m. on April 5. Roy contends that the Government violated article IV (e) by failing to return him to Somers on April 4.

On August 9, 1983, the District Court granted Roy's motion to suppress, United States v. Roy, 568 F. Supp. 1127 (D. Conn. 1983), and the Government appealed. The Connecticut charges pending against Roy were then nolled, but Roy remained incarcerated at Somers CCI pursuant to the state sentence he was serving after his parole was revoked. That sentence expired on February 16, 1984, at which time Roy became a federal pretrial prisoner. On May 3, 1984, we reversed the District Court's order granting the motion to suppress and remanded the case for trial. United States v. Roy, 734 F.2d 108 (2d Cir. 1984). Roy contends that the Government violated article IV (c) because, in his view, the almost nine months during which the appeal was pending may not be excluded in computing the 120-day time period in which trial must begin.


Initially, we are confronted by the Government's assertion that the Agreement does not apply in this case. Relying on cases holding that the Agreement does not protect pretrial detainees, see, e.g., United States v. Reed, 620 F.2d 709, 711 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 880, 101 S. Ct. 229, 66 L. Ed. 2d 104 (1980); United States v. Evans, 423 F. Supp. 528, 531 (S.D.N.Y. 1976), aff'd mem., 556 F.2d 561 (2d Cir. 1977), the Government argues that the Agreement does not protect a prisoner who, like Roy, is incarcerated in the sending state, both awaiting trial on charges pending there and serving a sentence for a prior conviction. The Government also argues that, under United States v. Mauro, 436 U.S. 340, 56 L. Ed. 2d 329, 98 S. Ct. 1834 (1978), the Agreement is not triggered where a prisoner's presence is obtained pursuant to a writ issued prior to the date when a detainer is lodged against him. We agree with the District Court that in light of the purposes of the Agreement neither of these arguments is persuasive.

In United States v. Ford, 550 F.2d 732 (2d Cir. 1977), aff'd sub nom. United States v. Mauro, 436 U.S. 340, 56 L. Ed. 2d 329, 98 S. Ct. 1834 (1978), we reviewed the history and purpose of the Agreement, noting particularly the serious hardships an unregulated system of detainers imposed on prisoners. Id. at 737-40. A detainer is filed against a prisoner in order to inform the institution where he is incarcerated that he is wanted for trial on charges pending in another jurisdiction. S. Rep. No. 1356, 91st Cong., 2d Sess. 2, reprinted in 1970 U.S. Code Cong. & Ad. News 4864, 4865. Prior to adoption of the Agreement, the prisoner frequently would not be prosecuted on those subsequent charges until completion of his current prison term. United States v. Ford, supra, 550 F.2d at 737. Even if pending charges were promptly prosecuted, there was virtually no coordination between service of a current sentence and transfers in connection with disposition of those charges, and there was no assurance that a prisoner transferred to another jurisdiction for prosecution would be returned to complete his sentence. These uncertainties made it difficult for the jurisdiction having custody of the prisoner to develop a "coherent program" for his incarceration and rehabilitation. Id. at 739-40. Moreover, the existence of a detainer on a prisoner's record frequently rendered the prisoner ineligible for participation in special programs or even for release on parole. Id. at 737-38. These consequences of detainers led to adoption of the Agreement.

The Agreement protects prisoners who are "serving a term of imprisonment," art. IV (a), in a member jurisdiction*fn4 and who have detainers lodged against them based on charges pending in another member jurisdiction. The Agreement has put in place a set of "cooperative procedures" designed to "encourage the expeditious and order disposition" of those pending charges. Art. I. In addition to supplying prosecutors with a set of formal rules by which they can obtain custody of a defendant incarcerated in another states, art. IV, the Agreement affords protection to a prisoner whose custody is secured under those rules, art. IV (c), (e), and provides all prisoners with a means by which to clear their records of detainers, art. III.

The provisions in issue here further the overall purposes of the Agreement. By assuring the prisoner that his trial in the receiving state will be handled expeditiously, the speedy trial provision of article IV (c) reduces the uncertainties created by the pending charges. See United States v. Chico, 558 F.2d 1047, 1048 (2d Cir. 1977), cert. denied, 436 U.S. 947, 56 L. Ed. 2d 788, 98 S. Ct. 2850 (1978). By requiring the receiving state to try the prisoner before returning him to the "original place of imprisonment," article IV (e) tries to minimize disruption of the sending state's rehabilitation program. Id. at 1049.

In light of this background, we reject the Government's argument that the Agreement does not apply in this case. First, we agree with the District Court that there is no merit to the Government's position that the Agreement does not protect Roy because, in addition to serving his prior Connecticut sentence, he was also awaiting trial on pending Connecticut charges. The cases holding that a pretrial detainee is not "serving a term of imprisonment" within the meaning of the Agreement have reasoned that such detainee lacks a sufficient interest in the rehabilitation programs of the confining jurisdiction to justify invocation of the Agreement. See, e.g., United States v. Reed, supra, 620 F.2d at 711. At the time the detainer was lodged against Roy, however, he was serving a sentence imposed on a Connecticut conviction. The fact that ...

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