ILNews

COA: Trial delays not defendant's fault

Back to TopE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the denial of a motion for discharge pursuant to Criminal Rule 4(C) because the court incorrectly attributed delays to the defendant.

In Chad Gibson v. State of Indiana, No. 06A04-0903-CR-150, Chad Gibson filed a motion for discharge on July 31, 2008, because more than a year had passed since charges were first filed against him. He was charged in April 2007 with operating while intoxicated and operating a vehicle with at least 0.15 percent blood alcohol content.

Chronological case summary entries showed between July 23, 2007, and May 5, 2008, Gibson was granted several continuances and the bench trial/status was reset. During those times, Gibson never entered the courtroom, didn't ask for a continuance, and only met with a prosecutor about a possible plea agreement. In May 2008, Gibson requested a contested bench trial, which was set for July 25, 2008. The bench trial was later moved to Oct. 10, 2008, based on Gibson's counsel planning on filing a written motion for continuance. The written notice was never submitted.

At trial Gibson was found guilty and sentenced to one year, all suspended to probation.

The trial court, in denying Gibson's motion, attributed the delays to Gibson based on the CCS entries stating "Defendant is granted a continuance." While the CCS is the official record of the trial court, it's not an accurate record of what occurred in the instant case, the appellate court ruled.

A defendant can overcome the presumption that the trial court finding of court congestion is valid by showing the finding was factually or legally inaccurate, wrote Judge Margret Robb. Gibson testified at the discharge hearing he never requested a continuance and appeared in court twice to accept a guilty plea offered by the state, but it wasn't able to be completed. On Feb. 11, 2008, the prosecutor assigned to his case wasn't at court. The trial court even acknowledged the CCS entry for that date was erroneous in stating Gibson was granted a continuance, wrote the judge.

There's also no indication Gibson ever did anything within the one-year period to prevent the state from bringing him to trial. The trial court claimed the CCS entries make it clear that all but one of the re-settings were the result of Gibson's action, but the CCS entries in the instant case weren't reliable, wrote Judge Robb. Also, the trial court's decision effectively placed the burden on Gibson to ensure he was brought to trial within one year. On May 5, 2008, when he requested a contested bench trial be set, the one-year period had already run so he had no obligation to object to the setting of the trial date, she wrote.

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Bill Satterlee is, indeed, a true jazz aficionado. Part of my legal career was spent as an associate attorney with Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans in Valparaiso. Bill was instrumental (no pun intended) in introducing me to jazz music, thereby fostering my love for this genre. We would, occasionally, travel to Chicago on weekends and sit in on some outstanding jazz sessions at Andy's on Hubbard Street. Had it not been for Bill's love of jazz music, I never would have had the good fortune of hearing it played live at Andy's. And, most likely, I might never have begun listening to it as much as I do. Thanks, Bill.

  2. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  3. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  4. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  5. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

ADVERTISEMENT