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United States v. Noyola

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Corpus Christi Division

September 25, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
SALVADOR NOYOLA, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          JOHN D. RAINEY, SENIOR U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pending before the Court are Defendant Salvador Noyola's Motion to Dismiss Indictment for Violation of Speedy Trial (D.E. 21) and Motion to Dismiss for Violation of Double Jeopardy (D.E. 22), to which the Government has responded (D.E. 33, 34).

         I. Background

         Defendant allegedly possessed cocaine with intent to distribute on September 17, 2013, and again on November 4, 2014, in Corpus Christi, Texas. Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers arrested Defendant on November 4, 2014. He bonded out on the state charge on November 10, 2014, and a state arrest warrant was issued on May 6, 2015.

         Meanwhile, Defendant was arrested in a separate incident on April 23, 2015, after U.S. Border Patrol agents discovered marijuana in his vehicle at an immigration checkpoint. On May 13, 2015, he was indicted in the Southern District of Texas for possession with intent to distribute 55.14 kilograms of marijuana in Case No. 2:15-CR-404. He pled guilty before the undersigned judge and was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment on September 21, 2015. While in the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), Defendant sent at least one letter to the Nueces County Sheriff's Office (NCSO) seeking to lift a pending detainer from the November 4, 2014, cocaine offense. FCI Three Rivers also sent notices to the NCSO and the Nueces County DA's Office regarding the detainer.

         Upon his release from the BOP on August 11, 2016, Defendant was transferred to the Nueces County Jail on a state detainer based on a pending charge of felony manufacturing or delivery of a controlled substance. On November 3, 2016, he was indicted in Nueces County, Texas, for knowingly transferring between 200 and 400 grams of cocaine to Cristina Hernandez on or about November 4, 2014. State v. Noyola, Cause No. CR14-00-3977-G. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss on speedy trial grounds, and the state case was eventually dismissed pursuant to a state's motion to dismiss for prosecutorial discretion. The September 17, 2013, offense was not prosecuted by the state.

         On May 25, 2018, Defendant was arrested after U.S. Border Patrol agents discovered 41 kilograms of marijuana in his vehicle at an immigration checkpoint. On June 13, 2018, he was indicted in the current federal case for possession with intent to distribute marijuana on or about May 25, 2018. A Superseding Indictment was filed on September 12, 2018, which added: Count Two, alleging that between September 17, 2013, and November 4, 2014, Defendant conspired to possess with intent to distribute 356 grams of a mixture containing a detectable amount of cocaine; Count Three, alleging that on or about September 17, 2013, Defendant possessed with intent to distribute 107 grams of a mixture containing a detectable amount of cocaine; and Count Four, alleging that on or about November 4, 2014, Defendant possessed with intent to distribute 249 grams of a mixture containing a detectable amount of cocaine.

         II. Motion to Dismiss Indictment for Violation of Speedy Trial

         Defendant argues that the Government's almost five-year delay in bringing the charges against him in Counts Two, Three, and Four of the Superseding Indictment violates his right to a speedy trial.

         A. Statute of Limitations

         The Superseding Indictment alleges offenses under 21 U.S.C. §§ 841 and 846 that occurred between September 17, 2013, and November 4, 2014. A five-year statute of limitations is applicable to prosecutions under 21 U.S.C. §§ 841 and 846. See 18 U.S.C. § 3282(a). Thus, the Superseding Indictment-filed September 12, 2018-charges offenses occurring within the statute of limitations.

         B. Sixth Amendment

         The Sixth Amendment guarantees that, “[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial . . . .” U.S. Const. amend VI. “The general rule is that ordinarily the federal constitutional right to a speedy trial arises after a federal accusation against the defendant is made, so that a prior state arrest based on the same facts as the subsequent federal charge does not implicate the federal constitutional guarantee.” United States v. Walker, 710 F.2d 1062, 1069 (5th Cir. 1983) (emphasis in original).

         Courts consider four factors in determining whether a defendant's Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial has been violated: “(1) Length of delay, (2) the reason for the delay, (3) the defendant's assertion of his right, and (4) prejudice to the defendant.” Barker v. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514, 530 (1972). “The [Barker] Court isolated three ways in which the defendant might be prejudiced by the delay [i] by lengthy pretrial incarceration, [ii] by a substantial impairment of his defense, and [iii] by being subjected to public scorn and personal anxiety.” United States v. Dyson, 469 F.2d 735, 741 (5th Cir. 1972). “The first prong of Barker, the length of delay, is merely a threshold ‘triggering mechanism.' The Court need not inquire into ...


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