Reversal: COA orders jury trial for man who did not knowingly waive right

A Pulaski County man will now have a jury trial after the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed his driving-related convictions Thursday, finding he did not knowingly waive his right to a jury trial.

Jason Wiley was granted three years of specialized driving privileges that required him, among other things, to operate a vehicle equipped with a certified ignition interlock device. An IID is a miniature DUI breath test instrument installed in a vehicle’s dashboard that prevents the vehicle from operating unless the driver can provide an alcohol-free breath sample.

Wiley was also required to carry on his person or in the vehicle he is driving the order for specialized driving privileges and to produce it upon the request of a law enforcement officer. But when Wiley was pulled over in a traffic stop while driving someone else’s truck without a copy of the order, he was ultimately charged with Class B misdemeanor operating a motor vehicle without an ignition interlock device and Class C misdemeanor violation of driving conditions.

In February 2018, Wiley’s counsel orally requested a jury trial that was later rescheduled after Wiley requested for the withdrawal of his appointed counsel. However, the state moved to strike the jury trial and set the matter for a bench trial, arguing that Wiley was charged with only misdemeanors and had never filed a written request for a jury trial as required by the trial rules.

Wiley’s objection was overruled, and the Pulaski Superior Court later found him guilty of the charges and referred him to the Veterans Treatment Court. After two months, Wiley moved to terminate that enrollment and convictions were entered for his charges.

The trial court then sentenced him to 180 days with 60 days served, 120 days suspended, and 305 days of supervised probation, as well as a concurrent term of 60 days executed.

But the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed in Jason Wiley v. State of Indiana, 19A-CR-3062, finding that Wiley did not knowingly waive his right to a jury trial.

“The statement of Wiley’s attorney and the actions of the court led Wiley to believe that the necessary steps had been taken to ensure a jury trial. Indeed, Wiley appeared for the first scheduled jury trial and agreed to pay the costs associated with securing a jury pool to obtain a continuance of the jury trial. It was not until the State filed a motion to strike the jury trial five months later and three weeks prior to the second jury trial date that Wiley was made aware that no such written demand was ever made. Under these circumstances, it cannot be said that Wiley knowingly waived his right to a jury trial,” Judge Robert Altice wrote for the appellate court.

“Further, we note that by the time the court struck the jury trial, Wiley could no longer comply with the requirements of Crim. R. 22 as the time for filing a written demand for a jury trial, i.e., ‘not later than ten days before his first scheduled trial date,’ had already passed. We find that under the circumstances, Wiley has established that his implied waiver of his right to a misdemeanor jury trial was not knowing and is therefore invalid,” the panel concluded.

The appellate court thus remanded Wiley’s case for a jury trial.

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