U.S. Tenth Circuit - The FindLaw 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

No 'Speedy Trial' Violation After Two Years Awaiting Trial, 10th Cir. Rules

Marty Madkins III appealed his drug convictions, saying he was denied a speedy trial.

But the big problem was Madkins had been convicted of drug violations twice before. Even though his third case took two years to get to trial, a federal appeals court said justice was speedy enough.

But sometimes it's better when the wheels of justice grind slowly. According to the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in United States of America v. Madkins, the defendant may actually get less time.

Career Offender

By all accounts, Madkins was a career criminal. In the case on appeal, he had been convicted of two counts of distributing cocaine.

But he had two prior convictions for possession with the intent to sell cocaine and marijuana. Based on a pre-sentencing report that he was a career offender, the trial judge sentenced him accordingly.

Madkins appealed, saying the underlying crimes did not merit his being sentenced as a career-offender. He also complained that he did not get a timely trial under the 71-day order of the Speedy Trial Act.

The appeals court agreed on the sentence enhancement and reversed. However, the panel said, he received justice in plenty of time and remanded for re-sentencing.

Ends-of-Justice

Madkins first appeared in court on June 6, 2013, but trial did not begin until June 3, 2015. The trial court granted motions for continuance to serve the "ends-of-justice."

Among other complications, the case involved fourteen defendants. It included a year-long investigation with "extensive wire and electronic surveillance," and discovery that amounted to 400 gigabytes of electronic information.

The appeals court rejected Madkins' argument that the trial judge continued the case because of a congested calendar. It was a complex case and the trial court gave the defendants and their lawyers the time they requested to prepare, the appellate panel said.

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