Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Peterson

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

December 16, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee,
v.
JAMES ROBERT PETERSON, Defendant-Appellant. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee,
v.
SOK BUN, a/k/a Friday, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued: October 30, 2019

          Appeals from the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, at Spartanburg. Timothy M. Cain, District Judge. (7:17-cr-00094-TMC-4)

         ARGUED:

          Howard W. Anderson III, LAW OFFICE OF HOWARD W. ANDERSON III, LLC, Pendleton, South Carolina, for Appellants.

          Kathleen Michelle Stoughton, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Columbia, South Carolina, for Appellee.

         ON BRIEF:

          C. Carlyle Steele, LAW OFFICE OF C. CARLYLE STEELE, Greenville, South Carolina, for Appellant Sok Bun.

          Sherri A. Lydon, United States Attorney, Brook Bowers Andrews, Assistant United States Attorney, Robert Frank Daley, Jr., Assistant United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Columbia, South Carolina, for Appellee.

          Before WILKINSON, MOTZ, and FLOYD Circuit Judges.

         Affirmed by published opinion. Judge Wilkinson wrote the opinion, in which Judge Motz and Judge Floyd joined.

          WILKINSON, CIRCUIT JUDGE

         This case arises from the prosecution of two state inmates who were federally indicted for coordinating a methamphetamine distribution ring from prison. The overarching prosecution spanned three separate indictments; ensnared 15 other co-conspirators; and spawned some 50, 000 pages of discovery. At the end of it, James Peterson and Sok Bun were tried together and found guilty. On appeal, they raise numerous claims, some jointly and others individually. One claim rises above the rest: They argue that the district court should have dismissed their initial indictment with prejudice because they were improperly transferred from federal to state custody in violation of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act (IADA). We disagree. The district court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing the indictment without prejudice, having carefully weighed the relevant set of non-exclusive factors set out in the IADA. Finding defendants' remaining five claims without merit, we affirm the district court's judgment.

         I.

         On September 14, 2016, Peterson and Bun, already inmates in the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC), were indicted on a series of federal offenses for participating in a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy while they were in prison. On September 25-29, 2017, the two were tried in connection with their involvement in this scheme. In those intervening twelve months, a litany of motions and procedural wrinkles bogged down the prosecution's pace, the details of which the parties continue to debate. For purposes of this appeal, there are three key points to follow.

         First, the parties disagreed extensively over where Peterson and Bun should have been held, consistent with federal law, in the leadup to their federal trial. Recall that defendants were indicted when they were already serving sentences in South Carolina state prison. This is important because the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act generally requires an indicting jurisdiction (here, the federal government) to retain custody, once a detainer is filed, of a prisoner until disposing of his charges. 18 U.S.C. app. 2, § 2, art. IV(e). This dictate is often referred to as the IADA's "anti-shuttling" provision. And here, on two occasions in November 2016, at least one defendant was transferred from federal custody to state detention facilities. See J.A. 274, 338. In particular, on November 30, 2016, Peterson was transferred from federal to state custody under circumstances that, as all parties now agree, were in violation of the IADA's anti-shuttling provision. See J.A. 331.

         In December 2016, defendants tried to have the charges against them dismissed with prejudice on the ground that the government violated the IADA by improperly transferring them from federal to state custody. They argued that the federal government had regularly violated the IADA in the District of South Carolina and that its conduct here was particularly egregious because it purportedly contravened a magistrate judge's order directing Peterson to be held in federal custody until the end of proceedings. The United States moved to dismiss the indictment against both Peterson and Bun without prejudice. For reasons explained below, the district court decided that the IADA was violated only with respect to one defendant (Peterson), but dismissed without prejudice as to both. J.A. 338.

         Second, there were a series of disputes over whether defendants were indicted properly and in a timely fashion. As noted, defendants were initially indicted in September 2016. Two other indictments followed. After the district court dismissed the charges against Peterson and Bun without prejudice under the IADA in January 2017, the government re-indicted defendants on the same charges on February 15, 2017. They were formally arrested on February 24, 2017. Then, on June 13, 2017, a grand jury returned a superseding indictment that added two new co-defendants but alleged the same substantive charges.

         Defendants attempted to dismiss each of these indictments. They argued that the reindictment should be dismissed because the federal government violated the IADA's requirement that defendants be brought to trial within 120 days of being transferred to federal custody once a detainer is filed. In addition, they claimed that the superseding indictment should be dismissed because it was filed too late under the Speedy Trial Act (STA). For reasons discussed below, the district court rejected both these claims in June and July 2017. Before trial, the court also granted three continuances, two of them over the objection of defendants.

         Third, there were a few issues relating to the trial itself. As noted, defendants were eventually tried starting on September 25, 2017. After a four-day jury trial, Peterson and Bun were found guilty of all offenses. The district court sentenced Peterson to 330 months imprisonment and 5 years of supervised release, consecutive to the thirty-five year state sentence he was serving. Bun was sentenced to 360 months imprisonment and 5 years of supervised release, also consecutive to his state sentence of life in prison. Peterson alone challenges several evidentiary rulings made by the trial court.

         We address the joint claims first-that is, the claims involving the IADA's anti- shuttling provision, the Speedy Trial Act, and the IADA's speedy trial rights-and then turn to the individual ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.