EDWARD ROBINSON, TECIA BARTON, Attorneys for Defendants.
DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS THE INDICTMENT (filed July Proceedings: 9, 2013)
CHRISTINA A. SNYDER, District Judge.
On October 9, 1998, the government filed a criminal complaint in this district charging defendant Adel Dardoon with participation in bank fraud and conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 371 and 1374. An indictment charging the same was filed on March 23, 1999, at which time a bench warrant for Dardoon's arrest was also issued. Dkt. No. 82.
Not until June 2012, when defendant first returned to the United States, was he arrested on these charges and detained. On July 9, 2013, defendant filed a motion to dismiss the indictment for post-accusation delay. Dkt. No. 346. The government opposed the motion on July 29, 2013. To date, no reply has been filed. On August 12, 2013, the Court held a hearing. After considering the parties' arguments, the Court finds and concludes as follows.
Defendant, a United States citizen, is accused of participating in an alleged ten million dollar bank fraud conspiracy beginning as early as January 31, 1996, and continuing until on or about May 28, 1997. An indictment was returned by the Grand Jury on March 23, 1999.
On December 15, 1998, United States Secret Service Special Agent Frank R. O'Donnell contacted the United States Marshal Service requesting their assistance in locating defendant, among others, relating his concern that these subjects would flee if they discovered that they were being sought in conjunction with a criminal investigation. Def.'s Ex. A. On January 5, 1999, O'Donnell contacted the Israeli government, seeking their assistance in locating defendant, whom O'Donnell referred to as "the principal suspect. Def.'s Ex. B. FBI Special Agent Terry Chodosh also contacted the Israeli government seeking information about defendant's whereabouts. The Israeli Police responded that they had no information on his whereabouts. Def.'s Ex. C. After these communications, there is no evidence in the record that the government made any further attempts to detain defendant until he returned to the United States in 2012.
For much of this time, defendant had "at least" two U.S. Passports, one that had "Israeli stamps" in it and one that did not, which both expired around November 2006 or February 2007. Although a declaration is not attached to defendant's motion, he "declares" that he went on multiple occasions to the U.S. Consulate and Embassy in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Israel to reapply for his passports. According to the government, these statements are false, as defendant in fact applied for and obtained his passports solely via mail in 2008. Gov't Ex. 1. He applied for both of these passports under the name "Eddie Dardoon." His prior passports, however, were under the names "Eddie Dardon" and "Adell Dardoon." On at least one of these applications, defendant listed an address in Rosemead, California as his mailing address, in addition to providing his social security number and date of birth.
On June 30, 2010, defendant met with FBI Special Agent Andre Khoury at the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem. Def.'s Ex. F. Defendant does not state why he met with the agent; according to the agent's interview report, defendant requested the meeting because that he wanted to speak to the FBI regarding information on fugitives, threats to Palestinians, and fraud. Id . According to the report, defendant disclosed his birth date, social security number, and U.S. Passport number, as well as his current address in "Ram, Ramallah, West bank."
He further advised the agent that he left the United States in 1998 to help his ill mother in the West Bank. He related that during his time in the United States, he "had several interactions with law enforcement" and that he "got in trouble for some credit card fraud" but that "he [did] not think any charges [were] still pending." He also said that he wanted to move back to California for his children's sake, and that he planned to do so as soon as he sold his house in the West Bank, which he expected to accomplish in about two months time. According to the report, defendant also indicated that he would let Agent Khoury know once his plans for traveling to the U.S. were finalized. The interview lasted approximately an hour. Gov't Ex. 2. It is unclear from the record whether or not Agent Khoury knew of the outstanding arrest warrant for defendant in the United States at the time of the interview. Khoury testifies that he never heard from defendant after this interview.
On June 6, 2012, an FBI Special Agent in Los Angeles notified his colleagues in Houston that Dardoon was scheduled to arrive the next day on a flight from Qatar. It is not apparent from the record how the FBI determined that Dardoon was on this flight or that there was an outstanding warrant in his name. Upon arrival in Houston, Dardoon was immediately detained by federal authorities; at that time, he allegedly acknowledged that he was the subject in question wanted by the Secret Service. On June 8, 2012, Dardoon had his initial appearance before a magistrate judge, with a further appearance on June 12, 2012. He was ordered detained pending trial. Thereafter, the parties stipulated to two extensions of his trial date, first to March 5, 2013, and then until August 20, 2013.
The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees that "[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial." The Court applies a four factor balancing test, set forth in Barker v. Wingo , 407 U.S. 514 (1972), to determine whether a defendant's speedy trial rights have been violated. These factors are: " whether delay before trial was uncommonly long,  whether the government or the criminal defendant is more to blame for that delay,  whether, in due course, the defendant asserted his ...