957 F.2d 465 (7th Cir. 1992), 91-1622, United States v. Mitchell

Docket Nº:91-1622.
Citation:957 F.2d 465
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Edward George MITCHELL, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:March 10, 1992
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

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957 F.2d 465 (7th Cir. 1992)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,


Edward George MITCHELL, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 91-1622.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

March 10, 1992

Argued Jan. 7, 1992.

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Eric J. Klumb, R. Jeffrey Wagner (argued), Asst. U.S. Attys., Office of the U.S. Atty., Milwaukee, Wis., for plaintiff-appellee.

Dennis P. Coffey (argued), Coffey, Coffey & Geraghty, Milwaukee, Wis., for defendant-appellant.

Before POSNER and EASTERBROOK, Circuit Judges, and ESCHBACH, Senior Circuit Judge.

ESCHBACH, Senior Circuit Judge.

Edward George Mitchell, a United States citizen who was extradited from Colombia, was convicted after a jury trial of arranging for the delivery of two kilograms of cocaine to undercover agents in Wisconsin. See 18 U.S.C. § 2, 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) (possession with intent to distribute); 21 U.S.C. § 846 (conspiracy to distribute). Mitchell was indicted on June 14, 1983, but not arraigned until July 18, 1990. Pretrial, Mitchell moved to dismiss the indictment on three grounds related to the post-indictment delay in bringing him to trial. He appeals the district court's denial of his pretrial motions as well as the district court's refusal to provide the jury an instruction defining the term "reasonable doubt." We affirm.


Mitchell's 1983 indictment at issue in this appeal was not his first experience with the criminal justice system. In August 1981, Mitchell was convicted of various drug charges and received a four-year sentence from a federal court in Texas. After serving approximately eighteen months of that sentence at the LaTuna Federal Correctional Institution in New Mexico, Mitchell was transferred to a halfway house in Texas in March 1983. While at the halfway house, Mitchell apparently arranged a cocaine transaction in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with Richard Peterson, whom Mitchell had met at LaTuna. Unfortunately for Mitchell, after leaving LaTuna Peterson became an informant for law enforcement authorities in the Milwaukee area. As a result of Peterson's undercover operations, a federal magistrate in Wisconsin issued an arrest warrant for Mitchell on June 7, 1983 for arranging the delivery of two kilograms of cocaine. When federal marshals attempted to arrest Mitchell at the halfway house

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later that day, however, they discovered that he had escaped.

Thereafter, the Milwaukee Drug Enforcement Administration office (DEA) took routine measures to locate and apprehend Mitchell. His exact whereabouts remained unknown until approximately July 1986, although the DEA believed that Mitchell had fled to Colombia (the home of his wife) and may have been hiding in Santa Marta. See Government's Pretrial Motions Response App. 1-8. On July 31, 1986, Mitchell was arrested by DEA special agents and Colombian law enforcement officers in Santa Marta for possession of false Colombian immigration documents in the name of Phillip Goodman. Id. at App. 9. After his arrest, Mitchell admitted to a DEA agent that he had used Goodman's name to conceal his true identity, that he was a fugitive "wanted" in the United States, that he was "tired of running," and that he could probably bribe his way out of jail in Colombia. Id. Furthermore, local authorities also learned that he was the subject of an outstanding Colombian arrest warrant for smuggling contraband goods. He was incarcerated in the Santa Marta jail and his case was turned over to the Colombian Customs Service. Id.

Concerned that Mitchell would obtain a release from jail through bribery, the DEA pursued the possibility of having Mitchell deported to face charges in the United States. During this time, Colombia was in the midst of internal battles over extradition procedures. 1 Although a window of opportunity opened regarding extradition from Colombia on December 14, 1986, 2 the United States did not succeed in extraditing Mitchell before that window closed on June 25, 1987. 3 The United States requested a provisional detention of Mitchell on April 20, 1987 pending a formal extradition request, but that formal request apparently was never made. Mitchell was released from the Colombian jail on October 14, 1988. 4

Extradition did not become a possibility again until August 10, 1989 when a decree was issued by the Colombian President authorizing extradition without a treaty. 5 On January 22, 1990 Mitchell was again placed in custody in Colombia, presumably at the United States' behest, although the United States did not issue a formal request for provisional detention until January 29, 1990. A formal request for extradition was then filed by the United States on March 15, 1990; a request that Mitchell's extradition be accelerated was filed on April 30, 1990. Finally, on July 17, 1990, Mitchell left Colombia and was arraigned before the district court the following day.

Mitchell filed motions to dismiss his indictment on three separate, though related, grounds. First, Mitchell claimed that the district court lacked personal jurisdiction due to the post-indictment delay in bringing

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him to trial. Second, Mitchell claimed that the delay and his conditions of confinement were so "shocking" and "outrageous" as to warrant dismissal on due process grounds. Third, Mitchell claimed that the prosecution should be abated because his extradition violated Colombian and international law. A magistrate judge recommended that Mitchell's pretrial motions be denied, and the district court adopted that recommendation in a November 17, 1990 order. Thereafter, Mitchell was tried and convicted by a jury on both counts of the 1983 indictment, and was sentenced to concurrent thirty-year prison terms. This appeal followed.


Mitchell's first argument is that...

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