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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. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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