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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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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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