United States District Court, D. Kansas
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
D. CRABTREE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the court on defendant MGP Ingredients,
Inc.'s Motion to Continue (Doc. 29) and defendant Harcros
Chemicals Inc.'s Motion to Sever (Doc. 30). The
government has filed a Response to both motions. Doc. 31.
And, MGP Ingredients, Inc., (“MGP”) has filed a
Response to the Motion to Sever filed by Harcros Chemicals
Inc. (“Harcros”). Doc. 33. On June 20, 2019, the
court held a hearing on both motions, and, at the end of that
hearing, the court took the two motions under advisement.
Doc. 34. The court has considered the parties' arguments
raised in their papers and at the hearing. For reasons
explained below, the court grants MGP's Motion to
Continue and denies Harcros's Motion to Sever.
March 6, 2019, the government filed an Indictment against
Midwest Grain Products, Inc. and Harcros Chemicals Inc. It
alleged violations of the Clean Air Act (“CAA”),
42 U.S.C. §§ 7401-7671q. Doc. 1. On April 3, 2019,
MGP filed a Motion to Dismiss Indictment (Doc. 7), contending
that “Midwest Grain Products, Inc.” had not
existed as a corporate entity for more than 16 years. Doc. 8
at 1. Instead, MGP argued, the Indictment was ambiguous
because the government could have intended to indict one of
two existing companies: “MGP Ingredients, Inc.”
or “MGPI Processing, Inc.” Id. at 3. The
government filed a Response opposing MGP's motion. Doc.
14. Harcros did not join MGP's motion.
6, 2019, the court conducted a hearing with MGP and the
government. There, the government eventually announced that
it planned to return to the grand jury to seek a superseding
indictment charging the correct company. On May 22, 2019, MGP
filed a Motion to Continue Status Conference, which Harcros
did not join. Doc. 20. The court granted the motion two days
later, setting June 17, 2019, as the new status conference
date. Doc. 21.
29, 2019, the grand jury returned a Superseding Indictment
(Doc. 22), which named “MGP Ingredients, Inc.” as
a defendant. Doc. 22. On June 17, 2019, the court conducted a
status conference with the parties. Doc. 24. At the
conference, Harcros notified the court that it demanded a
speedy trial under the Speedy Trial Act (“STA”),
18 U.S.C. § 3161-3174. Doc. 28 at 4. Specifically,
Harcros asserted, its speedy trial deadline would arrive one
week later- June 24, 2019. Id. at 7. MGP, in
response, stated that it was waiving its speedy trial rights
and planned to file a motion to continue the trial. MGP also
sought an ends-of-justice exclusion of time based on the
case's purported complexity. Id. at 10. Harcros
announced that it would file a motion to sever.
the court now must address the following motions. First, MGP
has filed a Motion to Continue. Doc. 29. MGP's motion
asks the court to designate the case as complex; exclude time
under the STA's “ends-of-justice” provision;
and set a new trial date for January 2020. Id. at
1-2. Harcros has filed a Motion to Sever. Doc. 30. Harcros
invokes its speedy trial rights and asserts that the court-if
it determines MGP is entitled to a trial date beyond
Harcros's STA deadline-must sever Harcros and try the
case against Harcros separately. Doc. 30 at 1. The court
considers each motion, in turn, below.
Defendant MGP's Motion to Continue (Doc. 29)
requires a federal criminal trial to commence within 70 days
of the filing of an indictment or the defendant's initial
appearance-whichever is later. 18 U.S.C. § 3161(c)(1).
Time may be excluded from this 70-day period for “[a]ny
period of delay resulting from a continuance . . . if the
judge granted such continuance on the basis of his findings
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).
Although courts should grant ends-of-justice continuances
sparingly, a continuance under this provision
“afford[s] the district court a modicum of flexibility
in managing particularly complex or difficult cases.”
United States v. Margheim, 770 F.3d 1312, 1318 (10th
Cir. 2014). When deciding whether to grant an ends-of-justice
continuance, the district court must consider the following
(i) Whether the failure to grant such a continuance in the
proceeding would be likely to make a continuation of such
proceeding impossible, or result in a miscarriage of justice.
(ii) Whether the case is so unusual or so complex, due to the
number of defendants, the nature of the prosecution, or the
existence of novel questions of fact or law, that it is
unreasonable to expect adequate preparation for pretrial
proceedings or for the trial itself within the time limits
established by this section.
(iv) Whether the failure to grant such a continuance in a
case which, taken as a whole, is not so unusual or so complex
as to fall within clause (ii), would deny the defendant
reasonable time to obtain counsel, would unreasonably deny
the defendant or the Government continuity of counsel, or
would deny counsel for the defendant or the attorney for the
Government the reasonable time necessary for effective
preparation, taking into account the exercise of due
18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(B)(i), (ii),
(iv). To apply the ends-of-justice provision
adequately, the record must explain “why the mere
occurrence of the event identified by the party as
necessitating the continuance results in the need for
additional time.” United States v. Toombs, 574
F.3d 1262, 1271-72 (10th Cir. 2009) (first citing United
States v. Williams, 511 F.3d 1044, 1058 (10th Cir.
2007); then citing United States v. Gonzales, 137
F.3d 1431, 1434-35 (10th Cir. 1998)). This requirement
“both ensures the district court considers the relevant