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United States v. Rodriguez

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

May 9, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
FELIPE RODRIGUEZ

          ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS THE INDICTMENT

          Victor A. Bolden United States District Judge

         On December 21, 2016, Felipe Rodriguez (“Defendant”) was indicted and charged with possession with intent to distribute and distribution of heroin in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(C) and committing an offense while on release in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 3147. ECF No. 13. No scheduling order was ever filed in this matter to schedule a jury selection date and a trial date. On March 17, 2017, Mr. Rodriguez filed a motion to dismiss the indictment with prejudice. ECF No. 21.

         On April 7, 2017, the United States of America (the “Government”) filed its objection to Mr. Rodriguez's motion to dismiss the indictment. Oral argument on this motion was held on May 8, 2017. For the reasons that follow, the Court dismisses the indictment in this case without prejudice and DENIES Mr. Rodriguez's motion to dismiss the indictment with prejudice.

          I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On December 15, 2016, Mr. Rodriguez was arrested under the criminal complaint in this case. At the time of this arrest, Mr. Rodriguez was on release pending sentencing in another matter pending before this Court, United States v. Felipe Rodriguez, 15-cr-116 (VAB) (D. Conn.). Mr. Rodriguez was detained by order of Magistrate Judge Richardson, ECF No. 9, and has been in federal custody since his December 15, 2016 arrest.

         On December 21, 2016, the indictment in this case was returned and publically filed. ECF No. 13. The indictment charges Mr. Rodriguez with two counts of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of heroin in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(C) and two counts of committing an offense while on release in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 3147. See generally Indictment, ECF No. 13. This matter was originally assigned to Judge Covello, but after the Government filed a notice of related case on January 17, 2017, ECF No. 17, this case was transferred to this Court (Bolden, J.) on January 18, 2017. ECF No. 18.

         On April 7, 2017, Mr. Rodriguez filed a motion to dismiss the indictment in this case, alleging a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 3161 (the “Speedy Trial Act”). ECF No. 19. Between the January 18, 2017 transfer of this case and Mr. Rodriguez's April 7, 2017 motion, there was no docket activity in this case. No scheduling order to schedule a jury selection date and trial date was ever filed in this matter. Eighty-four (84) days passed between the unsealing of the indictment and the date that Mr. Rodriguez filed his motion.

         A. Previous Case (15-cr-116)

         On July 2, 2015, Mr. Rodriguez was indicted and charged with possession of a firearm by a felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2), possession with intent to distribute marijuana in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(D), and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c)(1)(A) and 924(c)(2). Mr. Rodriguez was presented and arraigned on August 4, 2015, before Magistrate Judge Garfinkel, and Mr. Rodriguez agreed to detention without prejudice. 15-cr-116, ECF No. 7, ECF No. 10. On September 25, 2015, Mr. Rodriguez filed a consent motion for release and a bond hearing. 15-cr-116, ECF No. 14. On October 13, 2015, the Court (Garfinkel, J.) granted Mr. Rodriguez's motion for release and set conditions of release. 15-cr-116, ECF No. 20. The conditions of release included, among other requirements, that Mr. Rodriguez “must not violate federal, state, or local law while on release”; that Mr. Rodriguez must “not possess a firearm, destructive device, or other weapon”; and that Mr. Rodriguez must “not use or unlawfully possess a narcotic drug or other controlled substances.” Id.

         On June 29, 2016, Mr. Rodriguez pled guilty to Count One of the indictment, which charged him with possession of a firearm as a convicted felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2). See 15-cr-116, ECF No. 38. On October 4, 2016, Mr. Rodriguez filed a consent motion to continue sentencing and to apply to participate in the Support Court program in Hartford. 15-cr-116, ECF No. 55. On October 5, 2016, The Court granted the motion. 15-cr-116, ECF No. 56.

         B. Facts Underlying Current Case

         On December 5, 2016 and December 7, 2016, a FBI Confidential Human Source (“CHS”) conducted controlled purchases of heroin from Mr. Rodriguez. See Gov. Br. at 5-8, ECF No. 22. During the December 5, 2016 controlled purchase, Mr. Rodriguez gave the CHS a business card with his name and a phone number, telling the CHS to contact him for future narcotics purchases. Id. at 6. During the December 7, 2016 controlled purchase, the CHS also asked Mr. Rodriguez if he had any firearms for sale, and Mr. Rodriguez told the CHS that he had a firearm inside his house. Id. at 8.

         On December 14, 2016, state and federal investigators conducted a search of Mr. Rodriguez's residence under a search warrant. Gov. Br. at 8. Among other items, the investigators found and seized a gun, ammunition, and a Los Solidos gang contract. Id. at 8-9.

         C. ...


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