COA: Time expired in bringing criminal trial

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a man’s felony and misdemeanor charges after it found the state did not bring him to trial within a 365-day time period.

Byron Tinker was arrested on July 16, 2012, and later charged with Class D felony maintaining a common nuisance and three Class A misdemeanors: possession of marijuana, dealing in marijuana and possession of paraphernalia.

On Feb. 19, 2015, Tinker filed a motion to dismiss charges against him because the state had not brought him to trial within the 365 days required by Indiana Criminal Rule 4(C). The trial court denied his motion, but Tinker filed an interlocutory appeal.

There were several time periods in dispute as to what time should be assigned to whom. The first 167 days were assigned to Tinker as he admitted. The second 69 were assigned to the state as the state did not specifically say the time should be assigned to Tinker. Tinker accepted a plea agreement during that time, but it remained outstanding.

A 203-day stretch that was originally assigned to Tinker by the trial court was reassigned to the state at the appellate level. The state never mentioned why the days should be assigned to Tinker, only suggesting the COA remand the case for the trial court to explain why it assigned the dates to Tinker. The COA declined, and the 203 days were assigned to the state.

The COA said the trial court also erred when it said Tinker had an obligation to object to his trial date being more than a year after his charges. Tinker only needed to object if a trial date was set outside of the one year period, which it never was. The judges noted 357 days had passed before the state took action again, and those days were also assigned to the state.

That pushed the state well past the 365 day limit, and the COA said because of that his charges should be dismissed with prejudice.

The case is Byron Tinker and Travis Kelley v. State of Indiana, 10A01-1507-CR-999


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