United States v. Jose Neda

Case: 16-17063 Date Filed: 09/27/2017 Page: 1 of 16 [DO NOT PUBLISH] IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT ________________________ No. 16-17063 Non-Argument Calendar ________________________ D.C. Docket No. 1:10-cr-20614-MGC-6 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee, versus JOSE NEDA, Defendant - Appellant. ________________________ Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida ________________________ (September 27, 2017) Before HULL, WILSON and JILL PRYOR, Circuit Judges. PER CURIAM: Case: 16-17063 Date Filed: 09/27/2017 Page: 2 of 16 Jose Neda appeals his convictions stemming from a multi-defendant drug smuggling conspiracy. He argues that the district court erred in denying his motion to dismiss the indictment based on a violation of his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial. Although five years passed between the indictment and Neda’s arrest, the district court concluded that Neda’s knowledge of the criminal charges and his failure to demonstrate actual prejudice precluded the indictment’s dismissal. After careful review, we affirm. I. BACKGROUND A. Factual History In August 2010, Neda and his codefendants were indicted for multiple charges stemming from an attempt to smuggle cocaine into the United States and launder the sales proceeds. Neda’s purported role in the conspiracy was to ensure the cocaine was loaded onto the plane in Maiquetia, Venezuela.1 Because an informant indicated that Neda, a Venezuelan national, was living in Venezuela, the government’s efforts to locate Neda were limited to a yearly check of his name in the Treasury Enforcement Communication System (“TECS”) database, which tracks individuals entering and exiting the United States. The government failed to check other available databases, such as the Florida Driver and Vehicle Information Database (“DAVID”), or contact Customs 1 It is unclear if Neda followed through on his part of the conspiracy. The drugs intercepted in Miami arrived from Maracaibo, Venezuela, not Maiquetia. 2 Case: 16-17063 Date Filed: 09/27/2017 Page: 3 of 16 and Border Protection. Had it performed these extra steps, it might have located Neda, who moved to the United States in June 2010. From 2010 to 2015, Neda lived openly under his real name in the Miami area. He married, received traffic tickets, applied for credit, filed an adjustment of status application with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, and even requested a copy of his criminal history report from the police department—a report that indicated Neda had no local criminal record. In 2011, an attorney entered an appearance on Neda’s behalf in the federal case in which he had been indicted. The appearance occurred months after the charges against one of Neda’s codefendants were dismissed. Nevertheless, no progress was made on Neda’s case. Officers did not arrest Neda until December 2015, more than five years after the indictment was issued, when by chance they encountered him at the airport picking up his brother and codefendant, Luis Neda. B. Procedural History After his arrest, Neda moved to dismiss the indictment, claiming that the five-year post-indictment delay violated his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial. The ...

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