The federal public defender assigned to Daniel Newman, the former Rapid City mail carrier charged with felony theft and embezzlement, says his client’s right to a speedy trial has been violated and has asked a federal court to dismiss all charges.
According to the motion filed last Wednesday by Assistant Federal Public Defender Stephen D. Demik, prosecutors violated Newman’s rights by exceeding the 70-day limit for trial after indictment imposed by the Speedy Trial Act of 1974.
“As explained below, more than 70 days of credited speedy trial time have passed since Mr. Newman first appeared on the original indictment on June 19, 2015,” Demik wrote in his motion to dismiss the charges. The charges were filed after a Rapid City woman had her mail containing gift cards stolen, and performed her own investigation into the matter, prompting law enforcement to get involved.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office first charged Newman with a single-count indictment June 16, 2015, then filed a “superceding indictment asserting the same offense,” on Nov. 10, 2015, the latter of which actually charged the postal carrier with embezzlement and theft, Demik noted.
When the defense attorney challenged the single-count indictment charging two separate offenses, a federal court judge agreed and dismissed the indictment on Nov. 16, 2015.
Prosecutors re-indicted Newman on 11 counts of embezzlement and theft earlier this year, but Demik argued that the indictment was filed 71 days after dismissal of the original charges, in violation of the 70-day deadline provision contained in the Speedy Trial Act.
“As this analysis shows, the speedy trial clock in Mr. Newman’s case has expired,” Demik, wrote. “The indictment now pending against Mr. Newman should, therefore, be dismissed with prejudice as a violation of Mr. Newman’s right to a speedy trial within 70 days.”
Demik also questioned why federal prosecutors had requested, and a federal judge had ordered, that the record of the re-indictment on Jan. 26, be sealed and shielded from public view.
“The exact reason is not known,” Demik wrote. “The United States claimed in its motion it was necessary to seal the indictment because further investigation was being conducted. However, the indictment had been filed. Just why the assertion of a continuing investigation required the Jan. 26, 2016, indictment to be sealed remains unclear.”
Late Tuesday, a spokesperson for the U.S Attorney's Office said the office would have "no comment on pending motions."