Still unclear whether embassy shooter is fit for trial

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A lawyer for a man accused of shooting up the Cuban Embassy in Washington, D.C., has asked for a 45-day delay in the proceedings because a defense expert hasn’t yet evaluated the defendant.
“Due to the ongoing pandemic, arranging jail visits has proved difficult, and we seek 45 additional days for our expert to complete his evaluation and prepare a written report. The government does not object to this request,” Assistant Federal Public Defender Sabrina P. Shroff wrote.
U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson agreed to the delay. A video status conference in the case is set for 9:30 a.m. Oct. 13.
Speedy Trial Act provisions are waived until the hearing, the judge decided on Aug. 24.
The defense motion to delay the proceedings is below:

DEFENDANT’S UNOPPOSED MOTION TO CONTINUE STATUS CONFERENCE
1. On April 30, 2020, the defendant, Alexander Alazo, was charged by way of complaint with violations of 18 U.S.C. § 112(a) (violent attack on a foreign official or premises using a deadly or dangerous weapon, or attempt to do the same), 18 U.S.C. § 924(b) (interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition with intent to commit a felony), and 18 U.S.C. § 970(a) (willfully injuring or damaging property belonging to or occupied by a foreign government in the United States). Also on April 30, 2020, the defendant made his initial appearance. During the proceedings, the government requested pretrial detention pursuant to the Bail Reform Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f)(1)(A). The government’s request for pre-trial detention was granted, and a detention hearing was set for May 4, 2020.
2. On May 4, 2020, the Court conducted a detention hearing, and the Court granted the government’s motion for the defendant’s pretrial detention. On May 12, 2020, the Court issued an Order of Detention Pending Trial, which included findings of fact and a written statement of the reasons for detention. See ECF No. 8.
3. On May 14, 2020, the Court conducted a preliminary hearing, and held that the government had established probable cause. The Court ordered Mr. Alazo’s continued detention. Mr. Alazo has been detained since the date of his arrest.
4. On July 22, 2020, a grand jury returned a four-count indictment, which charged violations of 18 U.S.C. § 112(a) (violent attack on a foreign official or premises using a deadly or dangerous weapon, or attempt to do the same), 18 U.S.C. § 970(a) (willfully injuring or damaging property belonging to or occupied by a foreign government in the United States), 18 U.S.C. § 924(b) (interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition with intent to commit a felony), and 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A) (using, carrying, brandishing, and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence). ECF No. 18.
5. The parties appeared for an arraignment and status conference on September 21, 2020, and the parties appeared for a second status conference on November 13, 2020. During the status conferences, the parties discussed the volume of discovery produced to the defendant. During the status conference, the parties also discussed their efforts to reach a potential resolution short of trial.
6. On February 17, 2021, the government filed an unopposed motion to continue the status conference, which contained Mr. Alazo’s waiver of speedy trial time until the next hearing date, which was set for May 20, 2021. The Court granted the government’s motion, and the Court found that it was in the Interests of Justice that the time between February 17, 2021 and May 20, 2021, to be excluded from the Speedy Trial Act calculation.
7. On May 20, 2021, the parties appeared for a status conference. At defendant’s request, the next status conference was set for August 26, 2021. The Court found that the time between May 20, 2021 and August 26, 2021, was properly excluded from the Speedy Trial Act pursuant to Title 18, United States Code, section 3161(h)(7)(A). Excluding time, the Court held, will best serve the ends of justice and outweigh the best interests of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial, because it will allow the government and newly appointed defense counsel to
continue reviewing the discovery, retain an expert and continue in their discussions regarding a possible disposition in the matter.
8. The expert retained by the defense has yet to complete their evaluation of Mr. Alazo. Due to the ongoing pandemic, arranging jail visits has proved difficult, and we seek 45 additional days for our expert to complete his evaluation and prepare a written report. The government does not object to this request.
9. To that end, we request that the time between August 23, 2021 and the next date set by the Court, be excluded under the Speedy Trial Act, pursuant to Title 18, United States Code, section 3161(h)(7)(A). Excluding time will best serve the ends of justice and outweigh the best interests of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial, because it will allow the government and defense counsel to continue discussions regarding a possible disposition in the matter.
Respectfully submitted,
A. J. KRAMER
FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER
/s/
_____________________________
Sabrina P. Shroff
Assistant Federal Public Defender
Office of the Federal Public Defender
For the District of Columbia
625 Indiana Avenue, N.W., Suite 550
Washington, D.C. 20004
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3 thoughts on “Still unclear whether embassy shooter is fit for trial”

    • I haven’t seen any information about such funding in U.S. government spending records. I focus on what government agencies report and what I can find in tax records and audits.

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