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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. Such things are no more elections than those in the late, unlamented Soviet Union.

  2. It appears the police and prosecutors are allowed to change the rules halfway through the game to suit themselves. I am surprised that the congress has not yet eliminated the right to a trial in cases involving any type of forensic evidence. That would suit their foolish law and order police state views. I say we eliminate the statute of limitations for crimes committed by members of congress and other government employees. Of course they would never do that. They are all corrupt cowards!!!

  3. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  4. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  5. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

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