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United States v. Andrews

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

May 29, 2019

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Norris Deshon Andrews, Defendant.

          Norris Deshon Andrews, Sherburne County Jail, pro se

          Daniel L. Gerdts, Minneapolis, MN, standby counsel for Defendant

          Jeffrey Paulsen and Samantha Bates, United States Attorney's Office, for the Government

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR A CONTINUANCE

          SUSAN RICHARD NELSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is Defendant Norris Deshon Andrews' Letter Request for a Continuance and Hearing [Doc. No. 197], which the Court construes as a motion for a continuance (“Motion for a Continuance”). The Court held a status conference and hearing on this matter on May 28, 2019. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's motion is granted, although not on the grounds that he provides in support of his written request.

         In connection with Defendant's motion and consistent with 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(A), the Court makes the following FINDINGS OF FACT:

         1. Defendant is self-represented and is in pretrial custody at the Sherburne County Jail. His standby counsel is Daniel Gerdts.

         2. Previously, this Court set a trial date of June 10, 2019 for Defendant's trial, with pretrial deadlines of May 23, 2019 for all trial documents, including trial briefs, motions in limine, voir dire and proposed jury instructions. (See Order & Trial Notice [Doc. No. 173] at 2.) The Government has filed its pretrial submissions [Doc. Nos. 204, 206, 207, 212].

         3. In the instant motion, dated May 10, 2019, and filed with the Court on May 15, 2019, Defendant requests a continuance with respect to the trial date and pretrial deadlines. (Def.'s Mot. at 1.)

         4. In his motion, Mr. Andrews argues that a continuance is necessary because the Government has not timely provided evidence necessary for the preparation of his pro se defense. (Id.)

         5. On May 21, 2019, Defendant's standby counsel, Mr. Gerdts, filed a status report with the Court in which he noted that Mr. Andrews had recently broken his leg during recreational activities at the jail. (Standby Counsel Letter at 1 [Doc. No. 201].) This injury appears to have occurred after Mr. Andrews filed the instant motion. On a visit with Mr. Andrews following his injury, Mr. Gerdts observed that Mr. Andrews was in a wheelchair and his leg was medically immobilized. (Id.) The fracture required surgery. (Id.) Doctors have informed Defendant that additional surgery is necessary. (Id.)

         6. Sherburne County Jail appears to place inmates with medical concerns, such as Mr. Andrews' medical issue, in administrative segregation. (See id.) Because Mr. Andrews is confined in administrative segregation, he has very limited access to the tools necessary to actively review case materials, draft pleadings, and prepare for trial. (Id. at 2.)

         7. Mr. Gerdts states that being in segregation, combined with Mr. Andrews' newly limited mobility and health issues, make it impossible for him to provide timely pro se notices and trial pleadings. (Id.)

         8. At the hearing and status conference on the instant motion, held on May 28, 2019 before the undersigned judge, Mr. Andrews appeared in a wheelchair, with his leg immobilized. Mr. Andrews stated that in addition to future surgery this summer, his leg is expected to be in a cast for approximately two months. He agreed that the effect of this injury, ...


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