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United States v. Fortson

United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, Northern Division

July 20, 2020, Decided; July 20, 2020, Filed

CASE NO. 2:18-cr-416-WKW [WO]

Opinion

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Before the court is the parties' joint oral motion to continue trial. (Doc. # 130.) The motion was thoroughly argued in an on-the-record telephonic status conference on July 17, 2020. After serious consideration and for the reasons set forth below, the court will grant a continuance of the trial pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7).

I. BACKGROUND

Defendant Kemond Jareuz Fortson has been charged with one count of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), four counts of violating the Controlled Substances Act in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A). (Doc. # 91.) After six continuances, the jury selection and trial in his case were set to begin on July [*2]  20, 2020. (Docs. # 15, 59, 90, 105, 111, 117.) During a telephonic status conference on July 17, 2020, the parties orally and jointly moved for a continuance due to their concerns regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic upon the structure of jury selection and trial. The motion was granted orally. (Doc. # 130.)

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

While the trial judge enjoys great discretion when determining whether to grant a continuance, the requirements of the Speedy Trial Act ("Act") limit that discretion. 18 U.S.C. § 3161; United States v. Stitzer, 785 F.2d 1506, 1516 (11th Cir. 1986). The Act provides in part:

In any case in which a plea of not guilty is entered, the trial of a defendant charged in an information or indictment with the commission of an offense shall commence within seventy days from the filing date (and making public) of the information or indictment, or from the date the defendant has appeared before a judicial officer of the court in which such charge is pending, whichever date last occurs.

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2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127148 *; 2020 WL 2404891

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. KEMOND JAREUZ FORTSON

Prior History: United States v. Fortson, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 230780 (M.D. Ala., July 31, 2019)

CORE TERMS

jurors, Alabama, courtroom