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United States v. Santos

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division

June 8, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
CRISTINA DANIELA SANTOS

          DRELL CHIEF JUDGE

          MEMORANDUM ORDER

          Joseph H.L. Perez Montes United States Magistrate Judge

         The Director of the Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles, California filed a motion for a 15 day extension of time in which to conduct Defendant's psychiatric evaluation. That motion is granted.

         I. Background

         Defendant Cristina Santos is charged in an indictment with federal felony drug offenses, and is currently a pretrial detainee. Pursuant to Santos's request, the Court ordered: (1) an evaluation of Santos's mental competency to stand trial; and (2) an insanity evaluation. The evaluations are to be performed by the Bureau of Prisons, in a Bureau of Prisons facility.

         The order for evaluation was issued by this Court on February 26, 2018 (Doc. 208). According to a May 14, 2018 letter from Warden Milusnic of the Metropolitan Detention Center, the BOP did not designate a treatment facility for Santos until April 18, 2018. Santos arrived at the Metropolitan Detention Center on May 3, 2018. Warden Milusnic now asks for an additional 15 days in which to evaluate Santos, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4247(b).

         II. Law and Analysis

         1. The delay in transporting Santos for her psychiatric examination was presumptively unreasonable and may not be excludable.

         Warden Milusnic's letter left the undersigned wondering why it took over two months, after this Court ordered that Santos be evaluated, for that evaluation to begin. The Court ordered the 45 days for evaluation begin on the date she arrived at the facility for evaluation. However, it was never the Court's intention to give the BOP an unlimited amount of time in which to begin that evaluation.

         There is a statutory directive for this situation. Title 18 U.S.C. § 3l6l(h)(1)(F) provides for a 10-day delay, excluded from the Speedy Trial time limit, for transportation of a defendant to and from places of examination or hospitalization.[1] "[A]ny time consumed in excess of 10 days from the date of the order directing such transportation and the Defendant's arrival at the destination is presumed to be unreasonable...". See 18 U.S.C. § 3l6l(h)(1)(F).

         The same situation arose in U.S. v. Turner, 602 F.2d 778, 785 (6th Cir. 2009). In Turner, the court held the government did not rebut the presumption that it should not take more than 10 days to transport an inmate from a prison to the site of a competency examination. The court further found the government failed to request an ends-of-justice continuance to find a placement and transport the defendant. The Sixth Circuit stated that, under § 3l6l(h)(F), any time over 10 days spent transporting the defendant to his psychiatric examination is considered unreasonable. See Turner, 602 F.3d at 786 (citing United States v. Castle. 906 F.2d 134, 137 (5th Cir. I99O) (ordinary institutionalized delay is not an excuse)).

         In Castle, 906 F.2d at 137, the Fifth Circuit held the 22-day delay between the order for a psychiatric evaluation and the defendant's arrival at the place where the evaluation would take place was not reasonable, and that that presumption of unreasonableness could not be rebutted by a showing of diligent effort. See also U.S. V. Taylor. 821 F.2d 1377, 1384, n.10 (9th Cir. 1987), rev'd on other grounds, 487 U.S. 326 (1988) (delays in transportation, to accommodate the government in its desire to effect economical transportation of prisoners in larger groups, are not excludable under the Speedy Trial Act); U.S. v. Hernandez-Amparan. 600 F.Supp.2d 839, 842 (W.D. Tex. 2009).

         In this case, there was a 65-day delay between the order for evaluations and Santos's arrival at the facility for evaluation. Neither the BOP nor the Assistant United States Attorney requested a continuance. As § 3l6l(h) states, the delay beyond 10 days is presumed to have been unreasonable. Therefore, the 10 days from February 27 through March 8, 2018 are excludable from the Speedy Trial Act limits. March 9 through May 3, 2018, or 55 days, may not be excludable.

         The parties are directed to file briefs on or before June 12, 2018, addressing ...


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