United States v Hicks

Hicks appealed the denial of his speedy trial motions and argued the district court improperly participated in pela negotiations. The panel affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded.  It held Hicks 6th Amendment motion was properly denied as Hicks was the cause of most of the 5 ½ year delay, did not pursue his rights diligently given a three year gap between first and second assertions of the right and agreement to multiple extensions and there was no prejudice as Hicks would have remained in jail anyway on a state murder charge and presented no evidence that evidence was lost, witnesses died or he was prevented from meeting with his attorney to prepare his defense. The panel held the Speedy trial Act motion was erroneously denied as the government’s motion for a conference to set a trial did not require a hearing as setting a date for the conference entirely resolved the motion, did not require a response as there was no substantive issue involved and thus was under advisement at the time of filing, the speedy trial clock stopped for thirty days then restarted and more than 70 days passed without a trial commencing thus requiring dismissal. The panel remanded the case for determination if the dismissal should be with or without prejudice and thus declined to rule on the plea negotiation issue.

Al-Yousif v Trani

Al-Yousif filed a petition for habeas relief arguing Colorado courts improperly allowed his video recorded statement to be used at his trial. The district court found Colorado state courts unreasonably decided the Miranda issues involved and granted relief. The panel reversed. It held the district court improperly applied equitable tolling because Al-Yousif’s attorney’s reliance on the state trial court record system was not extraordinary circumstances to avoid the one year limitations period as the order which triggers the period is from an appellate court and the correct information was available in Westlaw and Lexis. Alternatively, the panel held that the Colorado Supreme court Miranda decision is entitled to deference as the United States Supreme Court has not set out detailed rules for evaluating Miranda issues, the Colorado Supreme Court stated the correct rule and evaluated the facts that Al-Yousif argues should result in a finding in his favor.