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Federal incarceration doesn't count toward speedy trial clock

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld a Marion Superior judge’s decision not to dismiss charges against a man who alleged his constitutional right to a speedy trial was violated because the state didn’t bring his case to trial within a year, as required by Rule 4(C) of the Indiana Rules of Criminal Procedure.

In Lance McCloud v. State of Indiana, No. 49A05-1102-CR-77, the appellate court looked at the case of a man arrested Oct. 15, 2009, and charged the following day with four misdemeanor offenses. Lance McCloud requested an early trial pursuant to Criminal Rule 4 and obtained a bond release from jail. The state obtained a continuance when the parties appeared for trial Nov. 30, 2009.

McCloud failed to appear at the rescheduled trial date on Feb. 9, 2010, and an arrest warrant was issued. It was discovered that McCloud had been on federal probation for a handgun offense at the time he was arrested in Indiana on the misdemeanors, and that probation violation led to his federal incarceration until September or early October 2010.

Despite his 10-month federal imprisonment and the delays that caused at the Indiana trial level, McCloud’s counsel argued the state was required to bring him to trial on the misdemeanors before Oct. 15, 2010.  The trial court agreed with the state’s contention that the federal prison delays should not count against the state and that the trial date could be extended, and the trial court denied McCloud’s motion to dismiss the charges before the Jan. 7, 2011, trial began. This interlocutory appeal ensued.

The Court of Appeals disagreed with McCloud’s claim that he was back in Indiana before the one-year deadline and should have been tried in the week prior to that date. The fact that he was back in Indiana before the date didn’t impact his 10-month absence, which was a delay he specifically caused. The appellate panel also found that the state wasn’t adequately notified about McCloud’s whereabouts by receiving a surety release petition in early 2010, and that didn’t restart the Rule 4 clock.

In using a four-prong test examining the length and reason for the delay, the appellate court found that on balance McCloud’s right to a speedy trial wasn’t violated because he caused the federal incarceration that delayed his Indiana misdemeanor proceedings.

 

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