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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:The grand jury returned a 17-count indictment on April 20, 2004, against Charlie Parker, Spencer Jordan and Rodney Boler, alleging in part that they had participated in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine base, also known as “crack.” The indictment charged Parker specifically in two counts: Count one alleged conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of crack cocaine, and Count 17 alleged possession of 206.1 grams. Authorities arrested Parker on April 28, 2004, and arraigned on May 17, 2004. The original trial date, July 12, 2004, came and went. The district court entered an agreed-to order on July 15, 2004, in anticipation of a new superseding indictment, resetting trial for Oct. 12, 2004. The grand jury returned a superseding indictment on July 28, 2004, alleging that Parker and the others had conspired to distribute more than 500 grams but less than 1,500 grams of crack. The new indictment also included money laundering charges against Spencer Jordan and new defendants Marzett Jordan and Annie Mae Jordan, who were arraigned on Aug. 9, 2004. Marzett, later joined by Annie Mae, moved to sever on Aug. 24, 2004. Marzett then filed an unopposed motion to continue on Sept. 20, 2004. The district court denied the motion to sever on Jan. 7, 2005, and on Jan. 14, Marzett renewed his motion to continue. On Jan. 31, 2005, the court held a hearing on the motion to continue. Parker objected to any additional continuance. The court granted Marzett’s motion. The grand jury returned a second superseding indictment on May 5, 2005, adding six new charges against Marzett. A trial court set a new trial July 5, 2005, but on June 9, 2005, Marzett filed another motion to continue, and on June 16, 2005, he moved to dismiss or in the alternative for a more definite statement. Parker moved to dismiss for violation of his speedy trial rights pursuant to the Speedy Trial Act, 18 U.S.C. �3161(c)(1), and the Sixth Amendment. The court denied the motion and scheduled trial for Oct. 31, 2005. By Oct. 31, only Parker remained in the case. He proceeded to trial. The jury found him not guilty of possession with intent to distribute 206.1 grams of crack but guilty of participating in a conspiracy to distribute 226.72 grams. Parker argued that the district court erred in denying his motion to dismiss on speedy trial grounds. HOLDING:Affirmed. The Speedy Trial Act, the court stated, requires commencement of trial within 70 non-excludable days of the information or indictment, or when the defendant first appears before the court, whichever is later. A few actions halt the 70-day clock, the court stated. The first such action offers a “reasonable period of delay when the defendant is joined for trial with a co-defendant as to whom time has not run and no motion for severance has been granted.” Under this exclusion, “the speedy trial clock does not begin to run in a multi-defendant prosecution until the last co-defendant makes his initial appearance in court.” On the other hand, the court stated that the government may not toll the speedy trial clock merely by filling superseding indictments. Although 532 days passed between Parker’s arraignment on May 17, 2004, and the commencement of trial on Oct. 31, 2005, excludable events occurred during that period, the court stated. First, the 70-day period stopped running when the grand jury indicted Marzett and Annie Mae Jordan on July 28, 2004, in a superceding indictment. Parker argued that the superseding indictment should not be used in his computation because it alleged no new claims against him and that the new defendants were not charged under the same indictment but under a substantially different one. The court found his reasoning incorrect. The superseding indictment, the court stated, did not allege a new crime. The question then became whether the arraignment of the Jordans under the superseding indictment on Aug. 9, 2004, was the appropriate starting point for the speedy trial clock. Were the government merely correcting the indictment, the court stated, Parker’s speedy trial clock would run from the original indictment. Instead, the government sought to widen the scope of the criminal investigation so as to try the conspirators to the crack’s distribution with the conspirators in the money laundering operation resulting from that distribution. There was no abuse of the superseding indictment system, so the speedy trial clock began to run from the arraignment on Aug. 9. Later, the court found that the speedy trial clock was correctly reset to the time of the second superseding indictment. After that, the court noted that the various defendants’ filed several motions that delayed the trial and stayed the running of the 70-day period. Thus, the court found that the trial court did not err in denying Parker’s speedy trial challenge. Parker also asserted that the trial court violated his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial. Under the 1972 U.S. Supreme Court opinion Barker v. Wingo, the court set forth four factors in assessing Sixth Amendment claims: 1. length of the delay; 2. the reason for [it]; 3. the defendant’s diligence in asserting his Sixth Amendment right; and 4. prejudice to the defendant resulting from the delay.” At the outset of its analysis, the court found that the 17-month period of delay was not long enough to presume prejudice. The court also found that Parker waited 14 months before asserting his speedy trial right. Taken together, the court found that the factors weighed against a finding of presumed prejudice. OPINION:Smith, J.; Higginbotham, Smith and Owen, JJ.

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