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COA: State didn't bring man to trial within 1 year

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The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the denial of a defendant's motion for discharge under Indiana Criminal Rule 4(C), finding the state failed to bring him to trial within one year.

In Delmar Caldwell v. State of Indiana, No. 75A03-0908-CR-393, Delmar Caldwell appealed the denial of his motion to discharge after the trial court found the one-year period to bring him to trial for an alleged drunk driving offense in July 2007 hadn't begun to run until he was ordered to appear by summons for his initial hearing in February 2009.

Caldwell was arrested July 4, 2007, and charges were filed July 10, 2007. A warrant for his arrest and subsequent summons to be issued for Caldwell's appearance were prepared by the clerk of the court, but never delivered to the sheriff for service. Caldwell only learned of the Feb. 13, 2009, initial hearing on his case from a friend who saw his name on the court docket. Caldwell appeared and pleaded not guilty. His trial was set for April 29, 2009.

Under Criminal Rule 4(C), the state had to bring Caldwell to trial by July 10, 2008; the state argues the later of the triggering dates under the rule was his appearance at the Feb. 13 hearing. The state based its opinion on State ex rel. Penn v. Criminal Court of Marion County, Division III, 270 Ind. 687, 389 N.E.2d 21 (1979), in which the Indiana Supreme Court upheld the denial of a defendant's motion for discharge. In Penn, the defendant was arrested after the filing of charges.

But the Court of Appeals instead followed the holdings of Holt v. State, 262 Ind. 334, 316 N.E.2d 362 (1974), and Maxey v. State, 265 Ind. 244, 353 N.E.2d, 457 (1976). In those cases, just as in Caldwell's case, the defendants were arrested before the filing of indictments against them, so the filing of the charges were the start of the one-year period to bring them to trial.

A voluntary appearance at an initial hearing isn't a triggering event under Criminal Rule 4(C). The appellate court also rejected the state's argument that Caldwell's appearance at the hearing was the first time he was under authority of the court.

"Finally, under the State's argument, the State's delay in effecting a second arrest subsequent to the filing of the formal charges would extend the commencement of the one-year period indefinitely and would undermine the very purpose that Crim.R. 4(C) was designed to accomplish - the constitutional guaranty of a speedy trial," wrote Judge James Kirsch.

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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