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United States v. Gibson

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division

May 25, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
DOUGLAS EDWARD GIBSON, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Hon. Glen E. Conrad Chief United States District Judge

         On May 22, 2017, the parties appeared before the court for a hearing on various motions filed by the defendant and the government. This memorandum opinion sets forth the court's rulings on the pending motions.

         Background

         On February 18, 2016, the defendant, Douglas Edward Gibson, and three codefendants were charged in a seven-count indictment returned by a grand jury in the Western District of Virginia. Count One charged Gibson with conspiracy to distribute, and possess with intent to distribute, 50 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B), and 846. Count Four charged Gibson with distribution of a measurable quantity of a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(C). Count Six charged Gibson with distribution of 50 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B).

         On February 25, 2016, Gibson was brought before a magistrate judge for an initial appearance. Although a jury trial was originally scheduled to begin on May 4, 2016, one of Gibson's codefendants filed a motion for a continuance on March 30, 2016. By order entered April 9, 2016, the court granted the motion and the jury trial was rescheduled to begin on July 25, 2016. On June 29, 2016, the same codefendant filed another motion for a continuance. The court granted the motion on July 20, 2016, and continued the trial until September 21, 2016. In granting the codefendant's motions, the court found that the erids of justice served by granting a continuance outweighed the best interest of the public and the defendants in a speedy trial.

         On August 18, 2016, Gibson moved to dismiss the attorney who had been appointed to represent him. The court granted Gibson's motion on September 2, 2016, and appointed a new attorney to represent Gibson. On September 13, 2016, Gibson's counsel filed a motion for a continuance. The court granted the motion on September 23, 2016, and continued the trial until January 9, 2017. On December 12, 2016, Gibson filed a number of discovery motions, which were ruled upon on December 20, 2016. Additionally, on December 19, 2016, Gibson's counsel filed another motion for a continuance. The motion was granted, and the trial was continued until February 6, 2017. In granting the motions filed by Gibson's counsel, the court found that the ends of justice served by granting a continuance outweighed the best interest of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial.

         On January 23, 2017, Gibson filed a motion to suppress. One week later, on January 30, 2017, the attorney representing one of Gibson's codefendants unexpectedly withdrew from representing the codefendant. The government intended to call the codefendant as a witness at Gibson's upcoming trial.[1] Consequently, on February 1, 2017, the government filed a motion for a continuance. At the time the government's motion was filed, replacement counsel for Gibson's codefendant had not yet been determined. Gibson's counsel advised the government and the court that counsel did not object to the requested continuance.

         On February 14, 20175 Gibson's counsel, at his request, moved to withdraw from the case. That same day, the court granted the motion, and appointed Gibson's current counsel to represent him in all further proceedings.

         On February 16, 2017, the grand jury returned a superseding indictment against Gibson, which corrected a technical error in the original indictment.[2] Gibson, proceeding pro se, moved to dismiss the indictment.

         On March 17, 2017, the court granted the continuance that was initially requested by the government, and continued the trial until June 5, 2017. The court again found that the ends of justice served by granting a continuance outweighed the best interest of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial.

         On April 14, 2017, Gibson moved to suppress a statement that he gave to federal agents on November 20, 2015. On May 16, 2017, Gibson filed a motion for exculpatory evidence. The court held a hearing on all of the pending motions on May, 22, 2017.

         Discussion

         I. Gibson's Motions A. Pro Se Motion to Dismiss the Indictment

         On March 6, 2017, Gibson filed the instant motion to dismiss the indictment on multiple grounds.[3] The court will address each ground in turn.

         1. ...


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