US v. Quotez Pair, No. 21-4269 (4th Cir. 2023)Annotate this Case
Following a series of COVID-19-related continuances and other setbacks, Defendant was convicted by a jury of two counts of fentanyl distribution. Defendant argued that these delays violated his statutory and constitutional rights to a speedy trial. Defendant also argues the district court erred in denying his motion for acquittal.
The Fourth Circuit affirmed. The court explained that, in total, 357 days of 401 days were properly excluded. This means that, at most, only 44 days accrued towards Defendant’s speedy trial clock. The court concluded that Defendant’s rights under the Speedy Trial Act were not violated. Moreover, the court noted that Defendant has not “shown, or even argued, that any evidence was damaged or lost, that any witnesses could not be found, or that his case was harmed in any manner by the delay.” Further, the court wrote that substantial evidence supports Defendant’s convictions. Much of the evidence at trial came from the testimony of the confidential informant who purchased the drugs from Defendant. This informant testified that he knew Defendant because they had a mutual friend whose apartment they both frequented. He also testified that he and Pair had discussed doing business together prior to the informant cooperating with law enforcement. The court explained that viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the government as the prevailing party below, any reasonable finder of fact could find beyond a reasonable doubt that Defendant was guilty of distributing fentanyl.