Court affirms delay in jury trial for congestion

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The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a defendant's arguments that because his request for a speedy trial was in writing, his trial should take priority over another man's trial scheduled for the same day.

In Daniel E. Wilkins v. State of Indiana, No. 02A03-0804-CR-190, the appellate court affirmed Daniel Wilkins' convictions of robbery, criminal confinement, and unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon. The Court of Appeals ruled the trial court didn't violate his right to a speedy trial when it delayed Wilkins' jury trial on a finding of court congestion.

Wilkins' request for a speedy trial was granted and his trial was scheduled for Nov. 7, 2007. At a pretrial conference, the court discovered a scheduling conflict with the defense counsel and prosecutors because the trial of Leon Kyles was scheduled the same day and they were to appear in that trial, too.

On Nov. 7, the trial court continued Wilkins' trial due to court congestion when it discovered that Kyles had asked for an early trial one day before Wilkins. With no objection, Wilkins' trial was rescheduled and he was convicted in February 2008.

Since Wilkins didn't raise an objection, he waived his claim on appeal. However, his appeal would also fail because he didn't show the court erred in delaying his trial due to court congestion. Wilkins argued that his request should have taken priority because his and Kyles' requests were made "virtually at the same time" and he made his request in writing whereas Kyles made a verbal request.

The Court of Appeals rejected his argument because Ind. Criminal Rule 4(B) makes no requirement that requests be made in writing and the motions were not filed at the same time. The appellate court also found Wilkins' reliance on Bowers v. State, 717 N.E.2d 242, 245 (Ind. Ct. App. 1999), to be misplaced.

The issue of whether appellate delays constitute court congestion or an emergency as it relates to a defendant's speedy trial rights is currently pending before the Indiana Supreme Court. The high court granted transfer in August 2008 to Robert J. Pelley v. State, No. 71A05-0612-CR-726, in which the Court of Appeals reversed Pelley's four murder convictions and held the state's interlocutory appeal was chargeable to the state for purposes of the speedy trial rule, thus making Pelley entitled to a discharge.


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.