The opinion of the court was delivered by: C. Clifford Shirley, Jr. United States Magistrate Judge
All pretrial motions in this case have been referred to the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) for disposition or report and recommendation regarding disposition by the District Court as may be appropriate. This case came before the Court for a status conference and motion hearing on June 19, 2007. On that date, the Court heard argument on the following motions:
(1) The government's Motion for Brief Extension of Time Within Which to Provide Discovery and to Designate Lead Counsel to Whom Discovery is Provided [Doc. 56];
(2) Defendant Stanley's Motion to Continue Trial Date and Discovery Deadlines, and to Declare Case as Complex [Doc. 74];
(3) Defendant Stanley's Motion for Extension of Time to File Motions [Doc. 62];
(4) Defendant McKenzie's Motion to Adopt Co-Defendants' Motions for Enlargement of Time to File Motions [Doc. 68];
(5) Defendant Montgomery's Motion to Extend Motion Filing Deadline [Doc. 75]; and
(6) Defendant Orr's Motion for Enlargement of Time to File Motions [Doc. 63].
At the hearing, on behalf of Michael Briddy, Attorney William Morrison appeared telephonically, having obtained the consent of the Court to do so in advance of the hearing date. Defendant Briddy was not present. Defendant Mashato Lamar was present in Court on June 19, 2007, with his attorney, Kim Parton. Defendant Johnnie Martin was present with Attorney Dennis Francis. Attorney Jonathan Cooper appeared on behalf of Tavares Smith, who was not present. Defendant Aaron Brooks was present with his attorney, Rowland Cowden. Attorney Michael Whalen was present with Defendant LaShonda Hall. Cassie McKenzie was present with Attorney Jonathan Wood. Defendant Tony Manning was present with his lawyer, Russ Greene. Attorney Michael McGovern was present with Defendant Deantay Montgomery. Defendant Matthew Orr was present with Attorney Alexander Brown. Attorney Charles T. Webber was present on behalf of Defendant Vernon Jackson, who was not present. Attorney Gerald Gulley was present on behalf of Vincent Stanley, who was not present. Assistant United States Attorney David Jennings and Assistant United States Attorney Tracee Plowell were present on behalf of the government.
The Court first took up the government's Motion for Brief Extension of Time Within Which to Provide Discovery and to Designate Lead Counsel to Whom Discovery is Provided [Doc. 56]. AUSA Jennings informed the Court that discovery was nearly complete and referred to the government's notice of supplemental discovery filed as short time before the court appearance. The discovery material that had not been provided to the defendants consisted, in part, of toxicology reports from forensic laboratories. AUSA Jennings said that he had provided some of these reports immediately before the hearing to all defense counsel, and described his efforts to obtain the last of these. Beyond these reports, AUSA Jennings described discovery in this case as extensive and ongoing. AUSA Jennings told the Court that the investigation of this case and related matters was ongoing and that newly developing discovery material would be provided in a timely manner.
Attorney Dennis Francis agreed to be designated by the Court as lead counsel for purposes of discovery distribution among the defendants, having already assumed that role as a practical matter. Attorney Francis informed the Court that discovery material was duplicated and made available to all counsel at the Downtown Copy Center. The other lawyers present in the courtroom agreed that this was a reasonable manner for Attorney Francis to disseminate discovery. AUSA Jennings confirmed that he retains responsibility for discovery material provided to Attorney Morrison, of the Georgia bar. No attorney expressed an objection to this arrangement.
The Court next took up two motions filed by Attorney Gulley on behalf of Defendant Stanley: Motion for Extension of Time to File Motions [Doc. 62]; and Motion to Continue Trial Date and Discovery Deadlines, and to Declare Case as Complex [Doc. 74]. Defendant Vernon Jackson joined in both these motions. Attorney Gulley described the quantity of discovery that he had received to date and confirmed that he had not yet been provided some forensic laboratory reports. Attorney Gully asserted that the investigation and preparation for Defendant Stanley's defense in light of this volume of discovery was further compounded by the fact of 12 defendants in the case. Attorney Gulley said that within the past few days he had discussed the need for continuance with Defendant Stanley, who is in jail. Attorney Gulley reported that his client agrees with the necessity of a continuance, and realizes that he will remain in custody pending trial. Attorney Gulley confirmed that both he and his client believe it is in Mr. Stanley's best interest to continue the trial. On behalf of Mr. Jackson, Attorney Webber joined both motions. Attorney Webber, likewise, informed the Court that he has discussed this issue with his client, who is in jail. Attorney Webber told the Court that he and Mr. Jackson agree that it is in the latter's best interest to review all discovery materials prior to the trial, and that this would require continuance of the trial date as current scheduled.
The government had no objection to continuance of the trial date. The government agreed with the arguments posited by Mr. Gulley and Mr. Webber. AUSA Jennings added that the government intends to seek a superseding indictment as to these defendants on July 10, 2007. AUSA Jennings informed all present that the government will seek to join the instant case with the three defendants in the case of United States v. Starks, 3:07-CR-53, and to add at least one new defendant. AUSA Jennings asserted that the investigation of facts surrounding this alleged conspiracy is ongoing and that the government may seek expanded charges. AUSA Jennings drew the Court's attention to the fact that Defendant Briddy was only arraigned on June 14, 2007. the government asserted that it was wholly unrealistic to believe the case could be prepared for trial within three weeks, before the July 12, 2007, trial date now set. The government described the discovery material as including lengthy wiretaps consisting of "thousands of calls," three search warrants, and weeks of investigative material.
On behalf of Defendant Martin, Attorney Francis opposed the continuance. Attorney Francis argued that there is nothing unusual or different found in the instant matter as compared to other conspiracy cases. He argued there are no novel issues of law or fact present and urged the Court to consider only the 12 defendants ...