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United States v. Zelaya-Romero

United States District Court, S.D. New York

February 21, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
LUDWIG CRISS ZELAYA-ROMERO, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          LORNA G. SCHOFIELD, DISTRICT JUDGE

         Defendant Ludwig Criss Zelaya-Romero moves for orders directing the Government to investigate whether his interrogation in Honduras was recorded and to produce the documents underlying his extradition. He also moves for a ninety-day continuance of the deadline to file non-discovery pretrial motions. As discussed below, these motions are denied, except that Zelaya-Romero shall have fourteen additional days to refile a motion to suppress his statements to law enforcement.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Zelaya-Romero was extradited to the United States from Honduras, and made his initial appearance on December 14, 2016. The Superseding Indictment alleges that Zelaya-Romero used his position as member of the Honduran National Police to facilitate safe passage through Honduras for multi-hundred-kilogram shipments of cocaine bound for the United States. Zelaya-Romero, along with two co-defendants, will stand trial on May 14, 2018.

         On August 23, 2017, the Court appointed new counsel at Zelaya-Romero's request. At the same time, the Court denied without prejudice a motion to suppress that had been filed by Zelaya-Romero's first attorney. The motion sought to suppress statements Zelaya-Romero made to the DEA in the American embassy in Honduras. The Court informed Zelaya-Romero that he could file a new motion to suppress or ask the Court to reinstate the initial motion.

         To date, Zelaya-Romero has not resubmitted his motion to suppress nor filed any other non-discovery pretrial motions. Over the course of the tenure of both of his lawyers, Zelaya-Romero has received six extensions of the deadline to file non-discovery motions:

1. From March 3, 2017, to March 16, 2017.
2. From March 16, 2017, to June 23, 2017.
3. From June 23, 2017, to August 15, 2017.
4. From August 15, 2017, to September 22, 2017.
5. From September 22, 2017, to October 23, 2017.
6. From October 23, 2017, to November 27, 2017.

         The last three extensions were each between thirty and thirty-five days, granted at the request of his counsel. After granting the last extension, the Court warned that “no further extensions will be granted absent extraordinary circumstances.” On November 27, 2017, Zelaya-Romero requested a seventh extension of ninety additional days, which the Government opposes. Zelaya-Romero also moved for orders directing the government to investigate whether tape recordings exist of his interrogation in Honduras and to produce the documents submitted to the Honduran government in order to procure his extradition.

         II. LEGAL STANDARDS

         A. Fed. ...


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