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United States v. Randle

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

September 23, 2019

United States of America, Plaintiff,
Johntez Leondis Randle (1), Defendant.

          Amber M. Brennan, Assistant United States Attorney, United States Attorney’s Office, (for the Government); and

          Thomas H. Shiah, Law Offices of Thomas H. Shiah, Ltd., (for Defendant).



         This matter is before the Court, United States Magistrate Judge Tony N. Leung, on Defendant’s Motion for Continuance of the Motions Hearing. (ECF No. 65). For the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant the motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Defendant Johntez Leondis Randle seeks a continuance of the October 7, 2019 motion hearing. This is, by the Court’s count, the seventh motion for a continuance that Defendant has brought in this matter. (ECF Nos. 9, 29, 31, 40, 47, 57, 65). The majority of these requests relate to Defendant’s motion for a Franks hearing.

         A motion hearing was held on this matter on July 24, 2019. There, the Court took under advisement and subsequently ruled on several non-dispositive motions. The Court also heard and denied on the record Defendant’s motion for new counsel and his previous attorney’s oral motion to withdraw as counsel.

         It was at this motion hearing that Defendant made one of his seven requests to continue his motion for a Franks hearing. The Court granted the motion to continue in part so that Defendant could supplement his Franks hearing motion with additional information. (ECF No. 62, p. 8). The Court and the parties also discussed Defendant’s Motion for Supplemental Discovery. (ECF No. 39). Defendant’s then-attorney agreed that this motion would be argued at the same time as his motion for a Franks hearing and that if the Court granted the supplemental discovery motion, the Government would “be required to disclose discovery that we could then decide who the witnesses [for the Franks hearing] are.” (ECF No. 62, p. 9). The Court reset the hearing on Defendant’s motion for a Franks hearing (and other motions) for September 30, 2019 and ordered Defendant to submit any additional material on his motion for a Franks hearing by August 23, 2019. (ECF No. 47).

         New counsel was appointed for Defendant shortly after the motion hearing concluded. (ECF No. 56). The Court then reset the hearing on Defendant’s motion for a Franks hearing for October 7, 2019, so that new counsel could acquaint himself with the matter and present additional materials in support of the continued motions. (ECF No. 60). The Court ordered Defendant to file any new materials on or before September 13, 2019. (ECF No. 60).

         On September 13, rather than file his supplemental materials, Defendant moved for another continuance and filed a second motion for supplemental discovery. (ECF Nos. 65 & 66). Defendant argued that a continuance was necessary because much of what he needed to address the motion for a Franks hearing was “in the hands of the government.” (ECF No. 65). Defendant further asked that the Court grant both motions for supplemental discovery before the motion hearing and continue the matter so he could review that discovery and present additional argument. The Government filed a response to the motion to continue on September 19, 2019.

         II. ANALYSIS

         The Speedy Trial Act requires that a defendant’s trial begin “within seventy days from the indictment or the first appearance, whichever occurs later.” United States v. Porchay, 651 F.3d 930, 935 (8th Cir. 2011) (citing 18 U.S.C. § 3161(c)(1)). The Court may, however, continue a matter and exclude time from the 70-day limit when warranted. See 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h). Exclusions are warranted when the Court determines that “the ends of justice served by taking such action outweigh the best interest of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial.” Id. § 3161(h)(7)(A).

         Here, Defendant seeks a continuance so the Court can rule on two motions for supplemental discovery and so Defendant can review that discovery before making his argument for a Franks hearing. Under the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154 (1978), a defendant “may request a hearing to challenge a search warrant on the ground that the supporting affidavit contains factual misrepresentations or omissions relevant to the probable cause determination.” United States v. Arnold, 725 F.3d 896, 898 (8th Cir. 2013). The Court may grant a Franks hearing, however, only if the defendant makes a substantial preliminary showing the affiant (1) “‘knowingly and intentionally’ made false statements or made them in ‘reckless disregard for the truth’ and (2) if the false information is excised (or the omitted information is included), the affidavit no longer establishes probable cause.” Id. (citation omitted). The requirement of a substantial preliminary showing “is not lightly met.” United States v. Mathison, 157 F.3d 541, 548 (8th Cir. 1998) (citation omitted).

         Criminal defendants do not, however, “have a general constitutional right to discovery.” United States v. Johnson, 228 F.3d 920, 924 (8th Cir. 2000). “In most circumstances . . . a defendant must point to a statute, rule of criminal procedure, or other entitlement to obtain discovery from the government.” Id. Though the burden is on Defendant to make a substantial preliminary showing, the fact that a defendant seeks a Franks hearing does not entitle him or her to additional discovery before the Franks hearing.[1] The Franks court expressly cautioned that the purpose of the substantial preliminary showing was to “prevent the misuse of a veracity hearing for purposes of discovery or obstruction.” 438 U.S. at 170. For this reason, the Court will decline to rule on the motions for supplemental discovery at this time. The Court ...

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