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United States v. Ward

United States District Court, D. Kansas

December 31, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
LAMONT ALFONZO WARD, JR., Defendant.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

DANIEL D. CRABTREE, District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on two motions filed in separate iterations of the same case. This prosecution involves two cases because government moved to dismiss the indictment in Case No. 13-40066 (the "First Indictment"), and the Court dismissed it without prejudice (Docs. 41, 43). The government then refiled an identical indictment to initiate Case No. 14-40139 (the "Second Indictment") (Doc. 1). Defendant Lamont Ward, Jr. has filed two Motions to Dismiss Indictment, one in each case. The first is a pro se motion seeking dismissal of the First Indictment with prejudice (Doc. 44 in Case No. 13-40066). Mr. Ward's second motion was drafted by counsel and seeks dismissal of the Second Indictment based on similar arguments (Doc. 12 in Case No. 14-40139). The Court consolidated the motions for briefing (Doc. 20 in Case No. 14-40139; Doc. 47 in Case No. 13-40066). The government filed a response (Doc. 23 in Case No. 14-40139; Doc. 48 in Case No. 13-40066), and the Court held a hearing on the motions on December 17, 2014.

In his motions, Mr. Ward argues that the government violated three provisions of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act ("IAD") and, therefore, the Court must dismiss the First Indictment with prejudice (and, as a result, also dismiss the Second Indictment). For the reasons explained below, the Court concludes that Mr. Ward has established an IAD violation, but it must hold a hearing to determine the appropriate remedy for the violation before it can finally rule Mr. Ward's motions.

A. Procedural History and Factual Background

The government has indicted Mr. Ward for the same offenses-possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, felon in possession of a firearm, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking-in two separate cases. Doc. 1 in Case No. 14-40139; Doc. 3 in Case No. 13-40066. The government filed the First Indictment on May 29, 2013. Doc. 1 in Case No. 14-40139. When Mr. Ward allegedly committed the charged offenses, he was serving a term of probation for an aggravated battery conviction in Geary County, Kansas. The Geary County court found Mr. Ward violated the terms of his probation when he engaged in the conduct producing his federal charges. He returned to Kansas Department of Corrections ("KDOC") custody on October 31, 2013. The government lodged a detainer with KDOC on December 10, 2013.[1]

The government requested custody of Mr. Ward through a Writ of Habeas Corpus ad prosequendum filed on February 18, 2014.[2] Docs. 4, 7 in Case No. 04-40139. The United States Marshal received Mr. Ward into custody on March 6, 2014, and he appeared before the Court for his Rule 5 hearing on March 11, 2014. Doc. 10 in Case No. 13-40066.

Subsequent developments in a related, pending case complicated Mr. Ward's prosecution. Following an August 22, 2014 motion hearing in Case No. 13-40060, this Court issued an Order suppressing certain wiretap evidence unless the government could produce evidence proving intercepted phone calls were made within the territorial jurisdiction of the judge who issued the wiretap authorizations. See Doc. 517 in Case No. 13-40060. Some of the evidence affected by the Court's suppression order affected Mr. Ward's case, and Mr. Ward moved to join the related suppression motions. Doc. 10 in Case No. 13-40066. The government believed it needed more time to marshal the phone location evidence needed to respond to the Court's suppression order. At a status conference held on September 15, 2014, the government informed Mr. Ward that it intended to dismiss the First Indictment to avoid a potential violation of the Speedy Trial Act. But the government also announced it planned to refile the indictment as soon as practical. Three days later, the government filed a motion to dismiss the first indictment (Doc. 41 in Case No. 13-40066) and the Court dismissed the First Indictment without prejudice later that same day. Doc. 43 in Case No. 13-40066. Mr. Ward was returned to KDOC custody five days later. The government filed the Second Indictment on November 12, 2014. Doc. 1 in Case No. 14-40139. On November 18, 2014, the same day Mr. Ward completed his state court sentence, he was arrested and returned to federal custody.

B. The Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act

The IAD is a compact entered into by 48 States, the United States, and the District of Columbia. New York v. Hill, 528 U.S. 110, 111 (2000). The IAD reflects a legislative finding that detainers based on untried indictments produce uncertainties that obstruct programs of prisoner treatment and rehabilitation.

[A] prisoner who has had a detainer lodged against him is seriously disadvantaged by such action. He is in custody and therefore in no position to seek witnesses or to preserve his defense. He must often be kept in close custody and is ineligible for desirable work assignments. What is more, when detainers are filed against a prisoner he sometimes loses interest in institutional opportunities because he must serve his sentence without knowing what additional sentences may lie before him, or when, if ever, he will be in a position to employ the education and skills he may be developing.

United States v. Mauro, 436 U.S. 340, 353 (1978) (quoting H.R. Rep. No. 91-1018, p. 3 (1970)) (further citations omitted). The Act establishes procedures for a state to obtain temporary custody of a prisoner incarcerated in another jurisdiction for the purpose of bringing that prisoner to trial. Cuyler v. Adams, 449 U.S. 433, 435 n.1 (1981). A writ ad prosequendum, by itself, does not trigger IAD protections. Mauro, 436 U.S. at 362. But IAD protections do apply when the government uses a writ ad prosequendum in conjunction with a detainer to obtain custody of a state prisoner. Id. at 362-63. Here, the government lodged a detainer with KDOC before it obtained custody pursuant to the writ ad prosequendum . See Doc. 6 in Case No. 13-40066; Doc. 13 at 1 in Case No. 14-40139. Accordingly, the Court concludes-as the government concedes-Mr. Ward earned the benefit of IAD protections when he entered federal custody on March 6, 2014. Doc. 43 at 18 in Case No. 14-40139.

C. Alleged Violations of the IAD

Once triggered, the IAD affords a range of protections to an inmate defendant. Mr. Ward alleges the government violated three aspects of these protections.

First, the IAD imposes two trial clocks for inmate defendants. The first trial clock (the "120-day clock") requires that trial commence "within one hundred and twenty days of the arrival of the prisoner in the receiving State." 18 U.S.C. App. 2 ยง 2, Art. IV(c). The second trial clock (the "180-day clock") provides that an inmate defendant "shall be brought to trial within one hundred and eighty days after he shall have caused to be delivered to the prosecuting officer and the appropriate court of the prosecuting ...


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