Divided COA orders dismissal of theft, battery charges

Theft and battery charges against a Marion County man must be dismissed after a majority of an Indiana Court of Appeals panel determined he was not brought to trial within 70 days, per his speedy trial request.

In Glenn Dillard v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1708-CR-1905, Glenn Dillard was charged with two counts of felony theft and one count of misdemeanor battery in February 2017. He requested a speedy trial on May 2. The Marion Superior Court scheduled Dillard’s trial for July 11, the end of the 70-day speedy trial deadline.

On the morning of the trial, the state sought to introduce incriminating and threatening statements allegedly made by Dillard, but Dillard maintained the statements had not been disclosed to the defense and, thus, were inadmissible. The trial court excluded all statements pertaining to perceived or actual threats but allowed the state to introduce all others.

The court then granted a continuance to determine whether the state had disclosed the admissible statements. At a subsequent hearing, Dillard’s original counsel — who had since been replaced — maintained those statements were not disclosed to him in writing, as required by the court and local rules.

The trial court thus charged the delay to the state, so Dillard moved to dismiss the charges against him, arguing the state’s actions resulted in failure to bring him to trial within 70 days. The trial court denied Dillard’s motion, but a divided panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed on Monday.

“It is clear that if not for the State’s failure to disclose these statements in accordance with the trial court’s … order and the applicable local rules, the matter would have proceeded to trial as scheduled and Dillard’s request for a speedy trial under Trial Rule 4(B) would have been honored,” Judge Cale Bradford wrote for the majority joined by Judge John Baker.

“…In reaching this conclusion, however, we note that another, arguably better, option that would have been available to the trial court would have been for it to have excluded all of the statements at issue, as the State did not have proof that it had provided those statements in writing to the defense,” Bradford continued. “Then, having excluded the statements, the trial could have proceeded as scheduled, within the seventy-day period.”

The majority remanded the case with instructions to dismiss the charges against Dillard. Judge James Kirsch dissented without a separate opinion.

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