TEXARKANA, Texas — A Texarkana man whose federal jury trial on drug and weapons charges has been delayed because of COVID-19 wants to be released from jail while his case waits out the contagion.
Justin Rashad "Bandaid" Young, 30, and his co-defendant, Joshea "Too Tall" Cardwell, 30, were first indicted in November 2018 for allegedly conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and marijuana. A superseding indictment charging both men with conspiracy, possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and two counts of carrying a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense was issued July 24, 2019.
Following his initial appearance in January 2019 in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas, Cardwell was released on a $5,000 unsecured appearance bond. Young waived the issue of detention following his arrest in January 2019 and has been held in the Titus County jail ever since.
Jury selection was scheduled for March 30 in Texarkana's downtown federal building before U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder III. That setting has now been put on hold "pending further order of the court," according to a March 13 docket entry in the case.
The same day, Texarkana lawyer Jeff Harrelson filed a motion for a detention hearing on Young's behalf.
"Due to the parties' and District Court's concern over the ever-increasing caution regarding the COVID-19 coronavirus, the parties' agreed to continue the jury trial and Defendant waived speedy trial as to any delay in rescheduling his jury trial," the motion states. "However, defendant made it known to the District Court that although he desired to resolve this matter, he understood and was also concerned that picking a jury during the current climate regarding the contagion was not desirable. He mentioned to the District Court that he would waive speedy trial if he could be considered for release until his jury trial was reset or his case was otherwise concluded."
A general order issued Monday in the Eastern District of Texas notes that time delays in trials caused by the need for social distancing to curb virus spread "are excluded under the Speedy Trial Act."
A detention hearing is scheduled this week before U.S. Magistrate Judge Caroline Craven.
In anticipation of now-delayed jury selection, Harrelson filed a motion Feb. 13 seeking a court order that would prevent the U.S. Attorneys prosecuting the case from mentioning Cardwell's criminal history, his alleged association with a Texarkana street gang and his appearance in "music videos." Assistant U.S. Attorney Lucas Machicek filed a response which hints that the prosecution may seek to introduce just such evidence.
The motion notes that Cardwell has prior misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions. The motion alleges that Cardwell sold marijuana to a confidential informant in 2016 during a narcotics investigation into the Texarkana street gang known as "Loyalty Cash Business" or "LCB."
"Finally, an open-source search of the social media website, Youtube.com, using Young's known alias, 'Bandaid,' has revealed publicly-available content depicting music videos performed by Young. In the videos, Young and others are depicted possessing large sums of U.S. Currency, alleged controlled substances, and firearms while singing explicit lyrics, of which selling narcotics is a primary theme," the motion states.
Young and Cardwell face a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison if convicted of conspiracy or of possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine and a possible fine up to $10 million. Each of the two weapons offenses are punishable by five years to life in federal prison and any sentence must be served consecutively to any sentence received for the underlying offense.