Friday, October 31, 2014

Tolling the Speedy Trial Clock Is the Lawyer's Job

Earlier this week, the Tenth Circuit continued its tradition of writing really long opinions on the Speedy Trial Act. It took 38 pages this time for the Court to reject Terry Lee Margheim's arguments as to why his trial should have happened sooner. We learned yesterday that Tom Bartee, our Branch Chief in Kansas City, actually read the entire 38 pages, so we conscripted him to tell us what it said.
This is what he came up with:

The Tenth Circuit is making amends for United States v. Toombs, the decision in which it promulgated its Byzantine requirements for excluding time under the Speedy Trial Act. Last year, the Court helpfully held, in United States v. Loughrin, that “the days between a notice of a change of plea and the change-of-plea hearing are excludable" under the Speedy Trial Act. Then, earlier this week came Margheim, which recognizes that the Speedy Trial Act does not require a defendant’s consent to excludable delays: “whether an ends-of-justice motion has tolling effect depends on whether the court made the necessary findings, not whether the defendant gave his blessing to the continuance.” (page 12 of 38). At the end of the lengthy discussion of various motions and other events leading to excludable time under the Speedy Trial Act, the Court includes a nicely formatted table succintly conveying what the reader just wasted thirty minutes struggling to understand. (Tom uses the singular here because he is the only known person to have read the entirety of this opinion -- dh). The table makes a nice model for a motion or a brief addressing excludable time, although it would be more helpful at the front end. (That table is on page 22, for those who enjoy crib notes).

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