United States District Court, D. Minnesota
H. MacDonald, United States Attorney, and Manda M. Sertich,
Assistant United States Attorney, for plaintiff.
P. Bruder, for defendant.
R. TUNHEIM CHIEF JUDGE
John Kuhnel was indicted for receipt and possession of child
pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§
2252(a)(2), 2252(b)(1), 2252(a)(4)(B) and 2252(b)(2). Kuhnel
moves to dismiss the indictment and for release from custody,
asserting that his rights under the Speedy Trial Act have
been violated. Magistrate Judge Becky R. Thorson wrote a
Report and Recommendation (“R&R”)
recommending that the Court deny the Motion. Kuhnel has now
objected to the R&R. Because Kuhnel's speedy trial
rights have not been violated, the Court will deny the
objection and adopt the R&R.
facts relevant to Kuhnel's objection are not in dispute.
Thus, the Court will summarize the pertinent facts and notes
that a more extensive explanation of the procedural history
is provided in the R&R. (See R&R, Oct. 30,
2018, Docket No. 91.)
was indicted on July 11, 2017. (Indictment, July 11, 2017,
Docket No. 14.) He has yet to be brought to trial. His trial
has been delayed because of various pre-trial motions filed
by both the United States and Kuhnel, including several
requests by Kuhnel's counsel to delay the trial and pro
se motions by Kuhnel to replace his attorney.
point, Kuhnel had a trial date set for February 12, 2018.
(Amended Trial Notice, Dec. 18, 2017, Docket No. 47.) On
January 22, he requested a change of plea hearing at which he
intended to plead guilty, and which was set for February 21.
(Notice, Jan. 22, 2018, Docket No. 49.) Thus, his February 12
trial date was disregarded. However, Kuhnel changed his mind
before the plea hearing, and on February 27, requested a
60-day trial delay to further consider the plea agreement.
(1st Statement of Facts, Feb. 27, 2018, Docket No. 51.) To
facilitate this request, the Court moved the trial to
April 23. (1st Order Granting Mot., Feb. 28,
2018, Docket No. 52.)
March 19, Kuhnel filed a pro se motion to replace his
attorney, citing a deteriorating relationship. (1st Pro Se
Mot., Mar. 19, 2018, Docket No. 54.) Because a hearing on the
motion was needed, Kuhnel's trial was rescheduled to
May 21. (Trial Notice, Mar. 21, 2018, Docket
No. 53.) His motion was eventually denied by the Magistrate
Judge on April 12, 2018, and he objected to that decision on
April 25. (Pro Se Appeal, Apr. 25, 2018, Docket No. 59.) Also
on April 25, Kuhnel requested a 90-day delay of trial in
order to arrange a forensic examination of his computer. (2d
Statement of Facts, Apr. 25, 2018, Docket No. 62.) His
request was granted, and his trial moved to July
23. (2d Order Granting Mot., Apr. 27, 2018, Docket
No. 63.) On June 12, the Court denied his objection to the
Magistrate Judge's order. (Mem. Opinion and Order, June
12, 2018, Docket No. 64.)
his request for an extension of trial to conduct a forensic
examination, Kuhnel's attorney had not yet arranged one.
Thus, on June 18, nearly two months after the original
request, he requested another 90 days for the same purpose,
and his trial was moved to September 17.
(3rd Order Granting Mot., June 27, 2018, Docket No. 67.)
9, Kuhnel filed a second pro se motion to replace his
counsel. (2d Pro Se Mot., July 9, 2018, Docket No. 68.) The
Magistrate Judge denied this request, Kuhnel again objected
to the denial, and the Court affirmed it September 5. (Order,
Sept. 5, 2018, Docket No. 75.)
September 11, Kuhnel's counsel, for a third time, moved
to delay trial an additional 90 days, but this time the
request was not signed or supported by Kuhnel. (Mot. to
Exclude Time, Sept. 11, 2018, Docket No. 77.) Kuhnel's
counsel requested the delay because “the time required
for the court to rule” on Kuhnel's motions to
replace his attorney “resulted in a delay on the part
of counsel to adequately prepare” for trial.
(Id.) In order to determine a viable way to move the
case forward, the Court held a status conference on September
19. At the status conference, the Court released Kuhnel's
counsel from the case and denied his motion for an extension
of time as moot. (Minutes, Sept. 19, 2018, Docket No. 81.)