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COA affirms man’s speedy trial request not violated

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The Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday affirmed the 25-year sentence handed down to a man whose erratic driving led police to pull his vehicle over and discover cocaine on the passenger. The judges found his right to a fast and speedy trial was not violated and the evidence supports that he jointly possessed the cocaine.

When police pulled over James Littrell’s minivan, they discovered Littrell’s passenger, Jackie Rumler, had a bag of cocaine in her shorts. Littrell denied that he purchased the drug but admitted to using it earlier in the day. A drug test found cocaine in his system.

He was charged with possession of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school as a Class B felony and other charges. He pleaded guilty to those charges, with the exception of the possession charge and being a habitual offender. He requested a speedy trial on those charges. The state sought an extension within the 90-day period because it was waiting on a blood test. The trial date was set for 112 days after the extension was granted and 152 days after Littrell’s original request.

He argued in James S. Littrell v. State of Indiana, 79A02-1401-CR-24, that the extension was calculated from the wrong starting date, but the appellate court said his right to a fast and speedy trial was not violated because the trial was set within the 90-day extension. The extension begins at the expiration of the original 70-day time period, the judges held, based on the Criminal Rule 4(D)’s use of the phrase “additional ninety (90) days.”

The judges also found his actions and statements lead to a reasonable inference he jointly possessed the cocaine. He admitted he had “shared the baggy” with Rumler, had handled it, and told her to put the baggy in her clothing.

“Littrell clearly had knowledge of the drugs’ location because he told the officers about the cocaine. Based on this evidence, a reasonable fact-finder could conclude that Littrell was in constructive possession of the cocaine,” Judge John Baker wrote.

The judges also found his aggregate 25-year sentence to be appropriate given his criminal history, threats made to the arresting officers, past drug use and failure to complete drug treatment programs.  

The COA remanded for correction of his guilty plea and sentencing orders because they show that Littrell pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle while having a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance in the body as a felony, when in fact the offense is a misdemeanor.
 

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

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  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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