United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
G. FLEISSIG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Petitioner Lawrence Edward
Williams' motion filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to
vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence. Petitioner was
charged with one count of being a felon in possession of a
firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1).
Following a one-day jury trial held on July 14, 2014, a jury
found Petitioner guilty of the crime charged. On October 22,
2014, Petitioner was sentenced to 66 months'
filed a direct appeal, and the Eighth Circuit affirmed the
judgment and sentence of this Court on August 7, 2015.
Petitioner then filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with
the United States Supreme Court, which was denied on March
21, 2016. On November 1, 2015, Petitioner filed the present
motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2255. For federal habeas relief, Petitioner
claims he received ineffective assistance of counsel because
counsel failed to file a motion to dismiss for violation of
the Speedy Trial Act (“the Act”). For the reasons
set forth below, federal habeas relief will be denied.
order to prevail on an ineffective-assistance-of-counsel
claim, a petitioner must meet the two-prong test established
by Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984):
(1) he must show that counsel's performance was so
deficient that, “in light of all the circumstances, the
identified acts or omissions were outside the wide range of
professionally competent assistance, ” and (2) he must
show “that the deficient performance prejudiced the
defense, ” in the sense that “there is a
reasonable probability that, but for counsel's
unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would
have been different.” Strickland, 466 U.S. at
687, 690, 694. Consequently, counsel is not ineffective for
failing to file a motion that would not have succeeded
because the petitioner was not actually prejudiced.
United States v. Johnson, 707 F.2d 317, 323 (8th
Cir. 1983) .
requires a defendant to be brought to trial within seventy
days of his indictment or arraignment, whichever is later. 18
U.S.C. § 3161(c)(1). The Act also sets forth periods of
delay that are excluded from the computation of time within
which the trial must commence, including, inter alia: (1)
delay resulting from any proceeding to determine the mental
competency of the defendant; (2) time between filing pretrial
motions and the disposition of such motions; and (3) delay
resulting from a continuance granted by a judge at the
request of the defendant or his counsel if the judge granted
such continuance on the basis of its findings that the ends
of justice served by taking such action outweigh the best
interest of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial.
See 18 U.S.C. §§ 3161(h)(1) - (7).
Speedy Trial Calculation
Petitioner contends that on June 26, 2013, seventy qualifying
speedy trial days elapsed, resulting in a violation of the
Act. ECF No. 15-1. June 26, 2013 is exactly seventy days
after the date Petitioner was arraigned on charges (April 17,
2013). However, Petitioner fails to take into account the
days that the Act expressly excludes from the computation of
time within which trial must commence.
appeared before the Magistrate Judge for his initial
appearance on April 15, 2013, at which time he was appointed
an attorney. Petitioner was arraigned on the charges on April
17, 2013, which starts the speedy trial clock. At that time,
defense counsel filed a motion for additional time to obtain
and review discovery materials to identify whether any
pretrial motions should be filed. The Magistrate Judge
granted the motion for additional time the same day, holding:
[D]enying the Defendant's motion would deny counsel for
the Defendant the reasonable time necessary for effective
preparation of any pretrial motions, taking into account the
exercise of due diligence, and that the ends of justice
served by granting this motion outweigh the best interest of
the public and the Defendant in a speedy trial, and
therefore, the time granted to prepare pretrial motions, or a
waiver thereof, is excluded from computation of the
Defendant's right to a speedy trial pursuant to 18 U.S.C.
United States v. Williams, 4:13-CR-00128-1-AGF,
Order Relating to Defendant's Motion to Extend Time to
File Pre-Trial Motions and Speedy Trial Act Finding, ECF No.
13 (E.D. Mo. April 17, 2013) (“U.S. v.
Williams”). This stopped the speedy trial clock
for the duration of the extension of time. See Zedner v.
United States, 126 S.Ct. 1976, 1989-90 (2006)
(concluding “if a judge fails to make the requisite
findings regarding the need for an ends-of-justice
continuance, the delay resulting from the continuance must be
counted, and if as a result the trial does not begin on time,
the indictment . . . must be dismissed”).
April 29, 2013-the date on which the extension of time
expired-Petitioner through counsel requested, and the Court
subsequently granted, another extension of time until May 6,
2013. On May 6, defense counsel requested an extension to May
13, and on May 10, counsel requested another extension of
time, until May 27, to file pretrial motions. Each time the
Order granting the extension contained the properly findings
under the Act.
few occasions, several days elapsed between the date on which
Petitioner filed his motion for extension of time and the
date on which the Court granted the extension. Those days did
not count toward Petitioner's speedy trial computation.
United States v. De La Torre, 907 F.3d 581, 590 (8th
Cir. 2018) (“This [September 1] motion [to continue]
stopped the clock until September 6, when the district court
granted the requested continuance.”). Thus, no speedy
trial days elapsed between April 29 and May 27, 2013.
30, 2013, counsel requested another extension of time until
June 27 to file pretrial motions, which the Court granted,
again with the necessary findings. Thus, between May 27 (the
date the previous ...