A federal judge overseeing the case of alleged Ponzi-schemer Mark Stanford has ordered he be moved to the federal detention centre in Houston to prepare for his trial.
Yesterday we opined that we doubted a judge would grant Stanford’s request to move detention centres. That’s the tricky thing about putting yourself in the place of a federal judge; sometimes you are wrong. Stanford is not being moved due to jail conditions he called intolerable (no ventilation in Texas in the summer, overcrowding, etc.), but because of his second argument – that he cannot properly prepare for trial at his current facility.
Texas Lawyer’s Tex Parte blog has the news and an excerpt from Judge David Hittner, of the Southern District of Texas:
On Sept. 25, Hittner ordered that Stanford be transferred by the U.S. Marshals Service to the Federal Detention centre in downtown Houston no later than Oct. 1. Before the fight, on Sept. 21, Stanford had filed a sealed, ex parte motion seeking to be moved from the Corley Detention Facility in Conroe to the downtown Houston facility pending his trial. On Sept. 25, after the fight, Hittner OK’d the move. In his order, Hittner wrote, “The Court recognises the extraordinary nature and complexity of this case, the extent and gravity of the charges levied against Stanford, the hundreds of thousands of records involved and the enormous amount of time no doubt necessary to review those documents and adequately prepare a defence. Consequently, the Court determines that because of the unique circumstances present in this case it is appropriate to order Stanford housed at the Federal Detention centre in Houston pending trial to ensure an adequate opportunity for Stanford to review the copious documents, consult his attorneys and prepare his defence.” [Stanford’s attorney Kent] Schaffer says the judge talked to the prosecutors and they did not object to Stanford’s motion.
We are still surprised at the decision, though we don’t disagree with it. The space and the time necessary for Stanford to review the evidence is no doubt substantial and this should alleviate any future appeals based on Stanford’s constitutional right to adequately prepare for trial. Judge Hittner specifically pointed out the “hundreds of thousands of records” and the complexity of the case is ordering the move, likely to fend off future prisoner’s request to move for similar reasons.
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