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United States v. Davis

United States District Court for the District of Colorado

September 18, 2020, Decided; September 18, 2020, Filed

Criminal Action No. 20-mj-00140-KMT

Opinion

ORDER

This matter is before the court on speedy trial issues associated with current trial settings and motions hearing.

Defendant was arraigned on September 17, 2020. The 70 day speedy trial date was calculated as November 26 2020. Therefore, trial was set for November 25, 2020 (since November 26, 2020 is the Thanksgiving Day holiday.

Motions, if any, are due to be filed on October 5, 2020 and an evidentiary hearing has been scheduled, if needed, for October 20, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. The following discussion regarding the current ongoing pandemic will not affect these dates, since court hearings in Colorado Springs are being held so long as the few people involved, together with court staff, can be appropriately socially distanced.

Trials in criminal cases, however, are a different story altogether. At the arraignment, the parties and the court discussed that the Coronavirus Disease [*2]  (COVID-19) pandemic has crippled Colorado, the United States and the world. Beginning on March 13, 2020, Chief Judge Philip A. Brimmer entered a series of orders concerning court operations and prohibiting trials in all but certain tightly controlled selected cases.

In Denver, the court has instituted elaborate protocols for handling mandatory criminal proceedings before judges involving multiple courtrooms and video conferencing where all participants appear remotely including the judge, the courtroom deputy, an interpreter, a court reporter, counsel for each side, and clients. That such measures are necessary to protect the health and safety of the persons involved in litigation before the court should be self-evident at this time. Procedures for handling criminal matters are evolving with the various stakeholders including the court, the United States Attorney's Office and the Office of the Public Defender weighing in on the safest and most constitutionally appropriate ways of conducting criminal jury trials and other hearings.

At this time, all civil and criminal trials scheduled to commence prior to October 2, 2020 in any Denver courtroom have been banned unless a case has been [*3]  selected to move forward as a "test" trial conducted under strict protocols). (GO 2020-15.) This court considers it very likely that this date will be extended at least into November 2020. In the Colorado Springs courthouse, no jury trials may be conducted at all due to the space needs for appropriate and safe distancing absent a vaccine. (GO 2020-11.) This means that the jury trial scheduled in this case must be scheduled for trial in Denver, where the back up for trial settings is becoming extreme, to say the least.

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2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 182504 *; __ F. Supp. 3d __; 2020 WL 5653332

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff, v. ROBERT EDDIE DAVIS, Defendant.

CORE TERMS

speedy, indictment, courtrooms