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United States v. Huffman

January 17, 2007

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LORAL RICHARD HUFFMAN, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: David G. Larimer United States District Judge

DECISION AND ORDER

Defendant, Loral Richard Huffman ("Huffman"), was originally indicted on April 22, 2003 (03-CR-6077). On December 15, 2004, United States District Judge Charles J. Siragusa, to whom the case was originally assigned, dismissed the indictment without prejudice because of a conceded violation of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers ("IAD"). 18 U.S.C. Appx.2 § 9(1). Judge Siragusa affirmed that decision by written order on December 21, 2004.

The case was resubmitted to a new grand jury and Huffman was reindicted on January 20, 2005 (05-CR-6011). There were pretrial proceedings and Huffman's then-attorney, Herbert J. Lewis, filed omnibus motions on May 23, 2005 (Dkt. #17). Included in that motion was a request to reopen the motion for dismissal of the prior indictment because of the IAD violation.

Within a few weeks of the filing of that motion, Judge Siragusa recused himself from the case and it was reassigned to this court. Attorney Lewis also moved to withdraw from the case, and that motion was granted.

Two different attorneys were appointed for Huffman, but he had difficulties with both and they were allowed to withdraw. Attorney James P. Harrington, Esq. now represents Huffman.

Pending before the Court is a motion (Dkt. #41) by Harrington for a determination of attorney Lewis's prior motion to reopen the hearing on the IAD violation, and for dismissal of the present indictment (05-CR-6011) because of a new violation of the IAD. Defendant also moves for dismissal on the grounds this Court lacked personal jurisdiction over Huffman when he was arraigned on the present indictment. All of the motions are denied.

In support of the motions, defendant's present attorney has submitted two affirmations, with attachments: one submitted on May 8, 2006 (Dkt. #41) and another on September 29, 2006 (Dkt. #54). The Government filed a memorandum in opposition to defendant's motions (Dkt. # 46) as well as an affidavit of Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Taffe (Dkt. # 45).

Reconsideration of Prior Proceedings on Dismissal of First Indictment Huffman's first attorney, as part of his omnibus motions, requested that Judge Siragusa reconsider his prior decision granting dismissal of the first indictment without prejudice. Judge Siragusa never ruled on that motion since he recused himself soon after the motion was filed. Defendant's present attorney now seeks a ruling on that motion to reconsider.

Judge Siragusa carefully considered the relevant factors for determining whether the dismissal of the original indictment should be with or without prejudice. He determined that there was no basis to dismiss with prejudice. Huffman has not made a sufficient showing that Judge Siragusa erred in that analysis. I see no reason why dismissal with prejudice would have been warranted and, therefore, no basis whatsoever to modify or reconsider Judge Siragusa's order.

The so-called prejudice mentioned in attorney Harrington's latest affirmation (Dkt. # 54) at ¶ 21 relates mostly to Huffman's perceived medical problems while in custody. The other items of claimed prejudice, including loss of documents, was not before Judge Siragusa when he made his decision and the present references are too vague and conclusory to warrant any change in the order dismissing the indictment 03-CR-6077.

Alleged IAD Violation on Pending Indictment

Huffman claims that the present indictment should also be dismissed for violations of the IAD. I find no violation.

At all times relevant, Huffman was a New York State prisoner serving an aggregate sentence of 7 1/2 to 15 years. The nature of Huffman's claim now is not entirely clear. It is not disputed that Huffman was produced in federal court on a writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum on January 24, 2005. Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Taffe submitted a petition for such a writ to the Judge several days before the return date, anticipating that the new grand jury would re-indictment Huffman.

Huffman did appear before Judge Siragusa on January 24, 2005 with Assistant Public Defender Mark Hosken. Huffman apparently had some objections to Hosken and, therefore, he was relieved. Arraignment on the new ...


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