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United States v. Bailey-Snyder

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

May 3, 2019


          Argued February 6, 2019

          On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania (D.C. No. 3-16-cr-00175-001) District Judge: Honorable Malachy E. Mannion.

          Todd K. Hinkley Office of United States Attorney, Attorneys for Appellee.

          Brandon R. Reish Attorney for Appellant.

          Before: HARDIMAN, SCIRICA, and RENDELL, Circuit Judges.



         This appeal presents a question of first impression in this Court: does an inmate's placement in administrative segregation while he is under investigation for a new crime trigger his right to a speedy trial under the Sixth Amendment or the Speedy Trial Act? We hold it does not, so Bailey-Snyder was not entitled to dismissal of his complaint. Nor was there improper vouching or cumulative error in Bailey-Snyder's trial. We will affirm.


         While incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution, Schuylkill, James Bailey-Snyder was moved to administrative segregation after officers found a seven-inch homemade plastic weapon (shank) on his person. United States v. Bailey-Snyder, 2017 WL 6055344, at *1 (M.D. Pa. Dec. 7, 2017). He remained in isolation in the Special Handling Unit (SHU) pending further investigation by the FBI. Id.

         Ten months later, Bailey-Snyder was indicted in June 2016 on one count of possession of a prohibited object in prison. Id.; see 18 U.S.C. § 1791(a)(2), (b)(3). He pleaded not guilty and filed a number of motions for extension before filing a motion to dismiss in November 2017. Bailey-Snyder, 2017 WL 6055344, at *1. Focusing on his placement in administrative segregation as the start of the speedy trial clock, Bailey-Snyder moved to dismiss his indictment, alleging violations of his constitutional and statutory rights to a speedy trial. Id.

         The District Court denied the motion to dismiss without an evidentiary hearing, reasoning that placement in the SHU does not constitute an arrest or accusation that would trigger speedy trial rights. See id. at *2. The case went to trial a month later.

         The trial focused on the credibility of the two officers who testified that they found a shank on Bailey-Snyder's person when they searched him in a staff bathroom that was not equipped with cameras. In an effort to undermine the officers' credibility, defense counsel cross-examined them regarding the Bureau of Prisons incentive programs for recovering contraband. On redirect, the Government elicited that the programs do not reward individual contraband recoveries and that one of the officers did not receive any award for the search of Bailey-Snyder. The other officer had made similar points during the defense's cross-examination. Neither officer discussed the potential consequences they would face for planting a shank on an inmate and then lying about it. The Government's only other witness was the FBI agent who investigated the case. The defense rested without offering testimony or evidence.

         Following the Court's charge to the jury, both parties gave closing statements. The Government's closing and rebuttal drew two defense objections relevant to this appeal. During summation, the prosecutor concluded: "I feel as if I'm not up here long enough. There really isn't much to say. The defendant is guilty of his crime and we're asking you to find him guilty of it. Thank you, your Honor." App. 232. The defense objected on the basis that the prosecutor expressed personal belief in the defendant's guilt; the District Court agreed, so the prosecutor had to make a corrected statement to the jury.[1] The defense's closing focused on the searching officers' "believability." App. 234. After tying "policy incentives of the Bureau of Prisons" to the searching officers' motives, the defense claimed: "[a]nd I wouldn't buy the home on the word of either of the two people that were on that stand if I were you." App. 234-35. In response to that challenge to the officers' credibility, the Government argued in rebuttal: "[i]t's conjecture to say that these correctional officers would put their jobs, their careers, their livelihoods on the line to possibly plant a shank on this defendant to maybe, maybe, have a little notch to get a promotion." App. 237. The defense objected, claiming the Government was "arguing a fact not in evidence," but the Court overruled the objection. App. 238.

         The jury convicted Bailey-Snyder and he was sentenced to 30 months' imprisonment to run consecutively to his underlying offense ...

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