United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
LYNN WINMILL CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
Court has before it the Government's
Unopposed Motion for Complex Case Designation
Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(ii) and Trial
Continuance (hereinafter, “Motion”). Dkt. 134.
United States District Court Judge Lodge granted the
Government's request for a ninety day continuance, but
did not rule on the Government's request to (1) designate
the case as complex pursuant to § 3161(h)(7)(B)(ii) and
(2) continue the trial to October 2019.
Court now takes up the Government's requests to (1)
designate this case as complex pursuant to §
3161(h)(7)(B)(ii) and (2) continue the trial to October 2019.
For the reasons set forth herein, the Court will GRANT the
Government's request to designate the case as complex.
However, it will DENY the Government's request to
continue the trial to October 2019. A trial in this case is
hereby set to begin on June 3, 2019 at 9:00 AM MST in the
Federal Courthouse in Boise, Idaho.
case involves ten defendants, each of whom have been charged
with multiple counts. Prior to filing its motion, the
Government met and conferred with counsel for nine of the ten
defendants to discuss designating the case as complex.
According to the Government, defense counsel for nine of the
ten defendants collectively represented that the Defendants
agreed to (1) designate the case as complex and (2) agree to
a one-year continuance. Dkt. 151 at 2. The Government
subsequently filed its unopposed Motion on October 22, 2018.
“agreement” between the Government and Defense
Counsel for nine of the ten defendants quickly fell apart.
Defendant Gennady Babitchenko was the first to oppose the
Government's request (Dkt. 135): he was quickly joined by
eight of the other defendants (Dkts. 137, 138, 139, 140, 141,
143, 147, 148). All told, nine of the ten Defendants in the
case oppose the Government's Motion.
to the Speedy Trial Act, a criminal trial must normally
commence within seventy days of the filing of the indictment,
information, or appearance of a defendant.18 U.S.C. §
3161(c)(1). However, there are certain circumstances under
which a Court may exclude time from the seventy-day clock. 18
U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(B)(ii) allows the Court to order
excludable time where:
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.
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has
framed the inquiry as whether “the complexity of the
case, involving … [multiple] codefendants and multiple
overt acts …, outweigh[s] the interests of individual
defendants and that the continuance served ‘the ends of
justice.'” United States v. Butz, 982 F.2d
1378, 1381 (9th Cir. 1993) (citation omitted). In
Butz, the Ninth Circuit concluded that designating
the case as complex was appropriate because it involved: (1)
nine defendants, (2) a twenty-nine count indictment, (3)
conduct in multiple states, (4) voluminous discovery in the
form of hundreds of hours of wiretap evidence, and (5)
witnesses from inside and outside the state in which the
charges were brought. Id.
Application of the Factors Identified in
record before it, the Court concludes that this case is
sufficiently complex that “the ends of justice served
by [designating the case as complex and] … granting
… [a] continuance outweigh the best interests of the
public and the defendant[s] in a speedy trial.” §
3161(h)(7)(A). Each factor identified in Butz is
present here. This case involves ten defendants and a
thirty-four-count indictment related to a conspiracy that
allegedly spanned a decade. Dkt. 151 at 4. From its base in
the Treasure Valley, the conspiracy allegedly sourced the
counterfeit products from as far away as China and Hong Kong.