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Name: U.S. v. Alexander
Case #: 14-50576
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 04/01/2016
Summary

The United States is not responsible under the “joint venture” doctrine for Canada’s delay in processing an extradition request, and the delay did not violate defendant’s right to a speedy trial. Defendant and others were charged with federal mail fraud. Shortly after an indictment was returned, the U.S. commenced efforts to extradite defendant from Canada. It took almost five years for Canada to approve the request. After his arrest by Canadian authorities, defendant fought extradition for 16 months. When defendant returned to the U.S., he moved to dismiss his indictment on speedy trial grounds. At the hearing on the motion, both Canadian and U.S. officials testified about the slow and difficult process of extraditing a defendant from Canada. With respect to the delay attributable to the U.S. alone, the district court found the U.S. pursued extradition with reasonable diligence and that any prejudice caused by the delay was not severe enough to have denied defendant’s rights. Defendant appealed. Held: Affirmed. Under Barker v. Wingo (1972) 407 U.S. 514, four factors impact the decision on a speedy trial claim: (1) the length of the delay, (2) the reason for the delay, (3) the defendant’s prior assertion of his rights, and (4) any prejudice resulting from the delay. Weighing the Barker factors, the court here concluded that defendant was not deprived of his right to a speedy trial. Although the length of the delay was significant, the U.S. was reasonably diligent in pursuing the extradition. The U.S. is not responsible for Canada’s delay under the “joint venture” doctrine, which has never been extended to the speedy trial context. Defendant did fight extradition for over 16 month after he learned of the indictment, but he was not incarcerated for the majority of the time and did not show how his defense was prejudiced in any way.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: https://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2016/04/01/14-50576.pdf