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United States of America v. Antonio Briggs and Jeffrey Sidebottom

August 26, 2011

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
ANTONIO BRIGGS AND JEFFREY SIDEBOTTOM, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: William M. Skretny United States District Judge

DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Presently before this Court are pre-trial motions of Defendants Antonio Briggs and Jeffrey Sidebottom. (Docket Nos. 194, 198.) Briggs and Sidebottom each seek severance from all remaining co-defendants pursuant to Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure 8 and 14, and request an immediate trial pursuant to the Speedy Trial Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3161 et seq., and the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. In the alternative, Defendants each request reconsideration of their respective orders of detention. For the reasons set forth below, the motions are denied in their entirety.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Facts

This Court assumes the parties' familiarity with the facts and record of proceedings in this case. This case is presently proceeding on its third superseding indictment. This case originated with the filing of a multi-count indictment, under seal, on June 24, 2010, naming 18 defendants, including both Antonio Briggs and Jeffrey Sidebottom. (Docket No. 1.) On July 29, 2010, a federal grand jury issued a sealed Superseding Indictment (Docket No. 2), and on January 20, 2011, a sealed Second Superseding Indictment was issued (Docket No. 142). Most recently, on April 21, 2011, a federal grand jury issued a 30-count Third Superseding Indictment, naming 23 defendants. (Docket No. 202.) Therein, Briggs and Sidebottom are charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, controlled substances, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1), and 846, and unlawful use of a telephone in connection with the narcotics allegation, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 843(b).

After conducting a hearing on August 26, 2010, the Honorable Hugh B. Scott, United States Magistrate Judge, directed that Defendant Briggs be detained pending trial. On September 14, 2010, Briggs filed a bail motion, which Judge Scott denied on December 23, 2010. On December 28, 2010, Briggs appealed the Detention Order, and this Court denied Briggs's appeal on March 4, 2011. Briggs thus remains incarcerated.

Following Defendant Sidebottom's detention since October 2010, Judge Scott ordered Sidebottom released from custody on June 8, 2011, to participate in an in-patient program. (Docket No. 228.)

On April 7, 2011, Briggs moved for severance from all remaining co-defendants, and for an immediate trial. (Docket No. 194.) On April 20, 2011, Sidebottom filed his motion seeking the same relief. (Docket No. 198.)

III. DISCUSSION

In their motions, both Briggs and Sidebottom move for severance from the remaining co-defendants, immediate trial under their Sixth Amendment and statutory speedy trial rights, or, in the alternative, reconsideration of the pretrial detention orders. Both defendants argue that they currently suffer prejudice as a result of their incarceration because of the difficulty of conferring with counsel on their defense. Defendant Briggs also argues that his continued detention harms his family's financial situation, and Defendant Sidebottom argues that he would be unduly prejudiced by being tried in the company of the remaining co-defendants.

A. Defendants' Speedy Trial Act Claims

1. Severance Requirement

In cases involving multiple defendants, time is excluded under 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(6) for "a reasonable period of delay when the defendant is joined for trial with a co-defendant as to whom the time for trial has not run and no motion for severance has been granted." Interpreting this provision, the Second Circuit has held that in multi-defendant cases, there is a "single speedy trial clock and that delay attributable to any one defendant is charged against the single clock, thus making the delay applicable to all defendants." United States v. Byrd, 466 F. Supp. 2d 550, 551-52 (S.D.N.Y. 2006) (citing United States v. Pena, 793 F.2d 486, 489 (2d Cir. 1986)).

In order to invoke the reasonableness requirement under subsection (h)(6), a defendant must first move for severance from the co-defendants allegedly responsible for the delay at issue. See United States v. Cephas, 937 F.2d 816, 822 (2d Cir. 1991) ("[T]he duty to inquire into whether a delay caused by a co-defendant is reasonable is triggered only when the defendant has sought severance from the particular defendant who is responsible for the delay at issue.") Both Defendant Briggs and Sidebottom have satisfied this ...


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