643 F.2d 537 (8th Cir. 1981), 80-1610, United States v. Ulland

Docket Nº:80-1610.
Citation:643 F.2d 537
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Kenneth ULLAND, Appellant.
Case Date:March 12, 1981
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
 
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Page 537

643 F.2d 537 (8th Cir. 1981)

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,

v.

Kenneth ULLAND, Appellant.

No. 80-1610.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

March 12, 1981

Submitted March 5, 1981.

Page 538

Bruce E. Aarestad, Fargo, N. D., for defendant-appellant Kenneth ulland.

James R. Britton, U. S. Atty., Lynn E. Crooks, Asst. U. S. Atty., Fargo, N. D., for appellee.

Aarestad, Kennelly & Kibler, Fargo, N. D., by Bruce E. Aarestad, Fargo, N. D., for appellant Kenneth Ulland.

Before HEANEY, ROSS and ARNOLD, Circuit Judges.

ARNOLD, Circuit Judge.

Kenneth Ulland was indicted on 12 counts of causing checks and drafts to be transported in interstate commerce, with knowledge that they had been taken by fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2314. After a four-day trial to a jury in the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota, 1 defendant was convicted on all counts. The district court sentenced him to three years' imprisonment on each of the counts, the sentences to run concurrently. We affirm.

Defendant first argues that the district court abused its discretion in denying his motion for continuance. The indictment was returned on March 25, 1980. Ulland was arraigned on April 7, 1980. At the arraignment counsel for Ulland asked that the case not be put to trial until after another charge against Ulland had been disposed of. 2 The court agreed. It set this case for trial on May 27, 1980, two weeks after the date set for the trial in the other case. (In the event, the other case was not tried, but disposed of on a plea of guilty.) Counsel voiced no objection to this trial setting. On May 21, 1980, however, he moved for a continuance, advising the court by affidavit that defendant had not completed his "financial arrangements" with counsel until May 17, 1980. This motion

Page 539

was denied by written order. On the morning trial was to begin, the motion for continuance was renewed in open court. Counsel asserted that he was busy with a number of matters, that the case was complex, and that he had no investigators or law clerks to help in his preparation. The motion was again denied.

We see no abuse of discretion in these rulings. The district courts must and do have a wide latitude in setting trial schedules and evaluating the need of parties and lawyers for continuances and other extensions of time. Those courts are in a much better position than we are to assess just how busy counsel are, what good additional time would really be to the parties, whether the party opposing the continuance would be prejudiced, and similar factors. Most lawyers feel they could use more time to prepare. Life is short, however, and delay is the bane of the courts. No doubt a lawyer's diligence is spurred after his fee is assured, but that is a matter between counsel and client, and cannot serve to compel a delay in a matter previously set for trial with ample notice.

Ulland next urges that the evidence was insufficient to sustain a conviction. There was no dispute that Ulland sold a quantity of sunflower seeds, represented to be a hybrid known as "894," to various elevators, and that the seeds turned out in fact to be "Peredoviks," a less desirable variety. The 894's were more expensive than the...

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