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United States v. Morrison

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK


December 7, 2007

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
RODNEY ARNOLDO MORRISON, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hurley, Senior District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Voir dire began on Monday, October 29, 2007 and was completed on Friday, November 2, 2007, with the trial scheduled to begin on Tuesday, November 6, 2007. On November 6th, defendant requested a four week adjournment based on alleged Brady violations. In response, the Court granted an eight-day adjournment and the trial commenced on Wednesday, November 14, 2007.

By letter dated November 9, 2007, defendant moves to "renew [his] motion to dismiss the arson and felon-in-possession counts for violation of [defendant's] statutory and constitutional rights*fn1 to a speedy trial based on the additional delay occasioned by the government's recent Brady violations . . . ." (Nov. 9, 2007 William Murphy, Jr. Letter at 1.) Defendant contends that "[s]ince the jury is not yet sworn, we are still in the pre-trial stage for speedy trial purposes." (Id.) Defendant's position is inconsistent with the law of this Circuit.

Under the Speedy Trial Act, a trial "shall commence" within 70 days from the date of indictment or the defendant's first appearance before a judicial officer, whichever occurs later. 18 U.S.C. § 3161(c)(1). Although the statute does not define "commence," the Second Circuit has held that for Speedy Trial Act calculations, a trial "normally 'commences'" when voir dire begins.*fn2 See United States v. Fox, 788 F.2d 905, 908 (2d Cir. 1986); see also United States v. White, 980 F.2d 836, 841 (2d Cir. 1992) ("Under the Speedy Trial Act . . . courts have consistently regarded jury selection as the commencement of trial."). Therefore, the trial in this case "commenced" on October 29, 2007 and defendant's argument has no merit.

SO ORDERED.

Denis R. Hurley, United States District Judge


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