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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. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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