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United States v. Mayweather

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

March 11, 2019

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Jarmell Raymond Mayweather, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Wilhelmina M. Wright United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Jarmell Raymond Mayweather's motions for an extension of time to file a motion for a judgment of acquittal or new trial, (Dkt. 131), and for new counsel, (Dkt. 130). For the reasons addressed below, Mayweather's motion for an extension of time is denied. The Court will conduct a hearing on Mayweather's motion for new counsel on a date to be determined.

         BACKGROUND

         A jury convicted Mayweather of possession with intent to distribute cocaine base and cocaine on December 14, 2018. Mayweather was, and currently is, represented by attorney Douglas B. Altman. Approximately two months after the deadline to file a motion for a judgment of acquittal or a new trial, Mayweather filed the two pending pro se motions. The Court addresses each motion in turn.

         ANALYSIS

         I. Motion for Extension of Time

         Mayweather moves to extend the deadline to file a motion for a judgment of acquittal or a new trial. Mayweather contends that he missed the original filing deadline because of a misrepresentation by Altman.

         A motion for a judgment of acquittal or a motion for a new trial that is grounded on any reason other than newly discovered evidence must be filed within 14 days after a guilty verdict. Fed. R. Crim. P. 29(c)(1), 33(b)(2). A district court can extend this deadline for good cause. Fed. R. Crim. P. 45(b)(1). When, as here, a motion for an extension of time is filed after the deadline has passed, a court may consider the untimely motion if the moving party's delay was the result of excusable neglect. Fed. R. Crim. P. 45(b)(1)(B). As such, a court may provide equitable relief when a delay is “caused by inadvertence, mistake, or carelessness, as well as by intervening circumstances beyond the party's control.” Kurka v. Iowa Cty., 628 F.3d 953, 959 (8th Cir. 2010) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         Factors to consider when determining whether a delay is attributable to excusable neglect include (1) the risk of prejudice to the opposing party, (2) the length of delay and the corresponding impact on judicial proceedings, (3) the reason for the delay and whether the delay was within the moving party's reasonable control, and (4) whether the moving party acted in good faith. United States v. Boesen, 599 F.3d 874, 879 (8th Cir. 2010). Of primary importance is the reason for the party's delay. See Kurka, 628 F.3d at 959.

         At all times relevant to this proceeding, Altman represented Mayweather. Based on Mayweather's submissions to the Court, he and Altman discussed post-trial strategy. According to Mayweather, after one such discussion, he was left with the impression that Altman was pursuing a motion for a judgment of acquittal or a new trial. And only after the 14-day deadline to file these motions had passed did Mayweather learn that Altman was preparing documents only for a direct appeal.

         Strategic decisions about which motions to file are the responsibility of counsel after consulting with the client. See Jones v. Barnes, 463 U.S. 745, 753 n.6 (1983) (stating that, except for the decisions of whether a client should plea, waive a jury trial, or testify, all other “strategic and tactical decisions are the exclusive province of the defense counsel, after consultation with the client.” (citing Model Rules of Prof'l Conduct r. 1.2(a) (Am. Bar Ass'n Final Draft 1982) and ABA Standards for Criminal Justice 4-5.2 (2d ed. 1980)). A defendant's right to appointed counsel does not include the right “to an attorney who will docilely do as [the attorney] is told.” United States v. Thomas, 760 F.3d 879, 887 (8th Cir. 2014) (internal quotation marks omitted). For this reason, the disagreement between Mayweather and Altman on strategy is not the type of mistake or inadvertence that amounts to excusable neglect. See Kurka, 628 F.3d at 959. The Court finds no good cause to extend the deadline based merely on differing opinions held by Mayweather and Altman as to post-trial strategy. See Fed. R. Crim. P. 45(b)(1).

         Moreover, no other factor, singularly or combined, overcomes this conclusion. Delaying any potential new trial would increase the likelihood that witnesses will “become unavailable and memories [will] fade.” Boesen, 599 F.3d at 879. And although the length of the delay is only a few months and there is no detectable bad faith motive on Mayweather's part, these factors are of secondary importance. See Kurka, 628 F.3d at 959.

         For these reasons, Mayweather's motion for an extension of the deadline to file a motion for a judgment of acquittal or new trial is denied.

         II. Motion ...


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