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Federal Criminal Defense Blog Federal Criminal Defense and Civil Litigation in Georgia and Beyond

6th Circuit Court of Appeals Reverses Convictions in $7 Million Fraud Case for Speedy Trial Violations

Posted in Reversal, Speedy Trial

Yesterday, as reported in The Republic, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Detroit reversed the convictions of Michael Heshelman and Bryce Sherwood of Battle Creek, Michigan, who had been serving sentences of imprisonment for defrauding investors of approximately $7 million, including $2.5 million from the family of a pastor. The reason–the Speedy Trial Act of 1974, 18 U.S.C. 3161 et seq., which provides that, generally, a defendant must be tried within 70 days of the indictment or the defendant’s first appearance in court, whichever is later. The Government obtained an indictment against Heshelman in 2006, but did not arrest him until 2009, since Heshelman was living in Switzerland at the time. Heshelman was convicted and was serving a 17 year sentence when his convictions were reversed.

The Court held that the Government failed to demonstrate that it would have been too difficult extradite Heshelman from Switzerland to the U.S. It also held that, while Sherwood pled guilty to a conspiracy charge, the government also violated his Speedy Trial rights by waiting 39 months to bring him to trial.

“There are 4 kinds of Homicide: felonious, excusable, justifiable, and praiseworthy.” ― Ambrose Bierce


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