United States v. Koufus – Case Brief Summary (Federal Court)

In United States v. Koufus, 280 F.Supp.2d 647 (W.D. Ky. 2003), the Federal Court for the Western District of Kentucky considered the motion to dismiss of a prisoner of the State of Kentucky, who, three years before that decision, had successfully lobbied for the withdrawal of a detainer lodged against him by the federal government, arguing that the detainer would likely adversely impact his classification in the Kentucky Department of Corrections system and that his presence in federal court could be secured by way of a writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum when necessary. Id. at 648-49.

The defendant later sought dismissal of the federal charges for the federal government's alleged violation of the 120-day requirement imposed upon the receiving State by Article IV of the IAD. Id. at 647.

The Federal District Court declined to dismiss the charges, stating:

The present case requires the Court to consider whether Koufus can claim the benefit of the Act where the initial detainer was withdrawn by order of the Court. The United States argument is simple: Article IV(c)'s one hundred twenty day requirement does not apply because at Koufus's insistence there is no longer a detainer lodged against him and, therefore, this proceeding is no longer one "made possible" by the IAD. The Court agrees.

. . . The Court's order withdrawing the detainer removed Koufus from the purview of the IAD. See United States v. Donaldson, 978 F.2d 381, 389 (7th Cir. 1992) ("Because the government withdrew its detainer against Donaldson defendant and notified him of the withdrawal, the provisions of the Act no longer applied to him."). This is so because it is the presence of a detainer lodged against a prisoner that triggers the IAD, not merely the presence of an indictment from another jurisdiction. (Id. at 650.)

Emphasizing that its focus was on the defendant's request that the detainer be removed, the Court ended its opinion with the following footnote:

It should be noted that the detainer was withdrawn at Koufus's request. "Despite the mandatory language of Article IV, the rights created by the Agreement IDA are for the benefit of the prisoner." United States v. Eaddy, 595 F.2d 341, 344 (6th Cir. 1979). The rights may be waived by the prisoner. See id. Koufus waived his right to a speedy trial by affirmatively asking the Court to withdraw the detainer. (Id. at 651 n.5.)