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Name: United States v. Corona-Verbera
Case #: 06-10538
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Citation: 509 Fed.3d 1105

Pre-indictment delay was not a violation of due process where prejudice is not demonstrated. The appellate court affirmed a conviction and sentence imposed by the district court arising out of the defendant’s involvement as an architect who built a drug-smuggling tunnel for the Sinaloa Cartel, one of Mexico’s largest drug trafficking organizations in the 1980s. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss for pre-indictment delay under the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause because the defendant did not demonstrate actual prejudice. Because Fed. R. Crim. P. 48(b) is limited to post-arrest situations, the panel affirmed the district court’s denial of the defendant’s motion to dismiss for pre-indictment delay under that rule. Reviewing appellant’s claim that his Sixth Amendment speedy trial right was violated, the court held (a) that the nearly eight-year delay between indictment and arrest is presumptively prejudicial, justifying consideration of the other Barker v. Wingo balancing factors; and (b) that where, as here, the government has a good faith belief supported by substantial evidence that seeking extradition from a foreign country would be futile, due diligence does not require our government to do so. The panel concluded that there was no violation of the defendant’s Sixth Amendment speedy trial right where the government obtained an arrest warrant and diligently sought extradition after it became more likely in 2002, the defendant asserted his speedy trial right only after he had asked for eight continuances, and the defendant did not demonstrate specific prejudice.

Opinion Date: 12/07/2007