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United States v. Owen

United States District Court, Southern District of Georgia, Augusta Division

May 26, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
RICHARD LEE OWEN, II

ORDER

On May 11, 2015, the Court held a hearing on all pending motions in this matter. The pending motions are:

(1) Defendant's motion for return of funds (doc. no. 144); and Defendant's renewed motion for return of funds (doc. no. 182);
(2) Defendant's motion for extension of time to file formal objections to the presentence investigation report ("P.S.I.") (doc. no. 184);
(3) Defendant's motion for continuance of sentencing hearing for medical reasons (doc. no 184); and
(4) Defendant's requests for witnesses at sentencing hearing and motions for subpoenas (doc. nos. 184, 187 & 191).

The motions are resolved as stated at the hearing and summarized herein.

I. BACKGROUND

On February 2, 2015, Defendant's appointed counsel submitted an interim Criminal Justice Act voucher to the Court seeking payment for services rendered in this matter. (See doc. no. 141.) The Court then became aware that Defendant maintained a balance., of... $6, .963.8 7 in his account at the Lincoln County (Georgia) jail. (Id.) On February 5, 2015, the Court directed the Sheriff of Lincoln County to remit to the Clerk of the Court the sum of $6, 500.00 from Defendant's jail account for deposit in the Registry of the Court. (Id.) The funds were held in the Registry subject to further order of the Court. (Id.)

On February 9, 2015, Defendant, through counsel, objected to garnishment and moved for return of the funds, arguing that ' the Social Security Act protects a portion of the remitted funds from legal process. (Doc. no. 144.) At the conclusion of an ex parte hearing, the Court deferred ruling on the matter. (Doc. no. 157 (ex parte).)

Defendant filed a waiver of counsel and election to proceed pro se, entered a plea of guilty, then renewed his motion for return of funds. (Doc. nos. 162, 181 & 182.) He asserts that his Social Security income comprises the entire $6, 500.00 amount remitted to the Court by the Sheriff, submits affidavits to that effect from himself and his adopted son, but fails to attach financial records or other documentation in support of his assertion. (Doc. no. 182.)

On April 7, 2015, Defendant submitted a letter to the presiding judge seeking an extension of time to file formal objections to the P.S.I, and a continuance of the sentencing hearing for medical reasons. (Doc. no. 184.) At the time of his request, the hearing had not yet been scheduled. Defendant sets forth the following as reasons for postponing the hearing[1]:

1. I recently had surgery on my left large toe and \ have a [sic] open wound on that toe. I go for treatment every Monday. On the last Monday I asked the doctor how much longer would the treatment continue. His reply was it was hard to say for certain but because I was a diabetic he had to be very careful about open wounds. He thought 3-5 weeks.
2. In the last fews [sic] weeks I have had two vein surgeries. There is one more surgery that will take place then a follow up ultra sound.
3. In January, 2015, tests revealed I had a torn rotatory [sic] cuff due to my passing out while in Jefferson County jail. That surgery is scheduled but has not taken place.

(Id.) Also, Defendant identifies in his April 7 letter two witnesses that he intends to call at the sentencing hearing: Mr. Adam King, an attorney in Augusta, Georgia; and Mr. Jerry Culver, an expert ...


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