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State v. Myers

Court of Appeals of Indiana

April 24, 2018

State of Indiana, Appellant-Plaintiff,
v.
Daniel L. Myers, Appellee-Defendant

          Appeal from the Ripley Superior Court Trial Court Cause No. 69D01-1512-F6-152 The Honorable Darrell M. Auxier, Special Judge

          Attorneys for Appellant Curtis T. Hill, Jr Attorney General Ellen H. Meilaender Supervising Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          Attorney for Appellee Laura Sorge Fattouch Sorge Law Firm, LLC Lawrenceburg, Indiana

          Vaidik, Chief Judge.

         Case Summary

         [¶1] With some exceptions, Criminal Rule 4(C) guarantees a defendant the right to stand trial within one year of arrest or the date charges are filed, whichever is later. If, during the one-year period, the trial court sets a trial date beyond the one-year period, the defendant is obligated to object in time for the court to reset the trial for a date within the one-year period, otherwise he acquiesces to the date. When a defendant fails to object timely, he cannot then move for discharge under Rule 4(C) when the one-year period expires.

         [¶2] In this case, 20 days before the one-year period was to expire, the court held a pretrial conference and set Myers's trial for a date beyond the one-year period. Myers did not object. Nevertheless, shortly after the period had expired, Myers moved for discharge under Rule 4(C), which the trial court granted. The State appeals and argues that by failing to object during the one-year period, Myers acquiesced to the trial date and waived his motion for discharge. We agree and reverse and remand for further proceedings.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶3] On December 3, 2015, the State charged Myers with three counts of drunk driving. As a result of numerous delays, some of which were attributable to Myers, the case was still pending in 2017. On May 26, 2017, the trial court held a pretrial conference at which a trial date was to be set. As of that date, 20 days remained in the one-year period under Rule 4(C)-that is, the State had until June 15 to bring Myers to trial.[1] But when the trial court asked if there was any Rule 4(C) issue, neither attorney raised any such concern. The trial was then scheduled for November 14, 2017, without objection from either side.

         [¶4] On June 23, after the one-year period had expired, Myers filed a motion for discharge under Rule 4(C), explaining:

At the May 26, 2017 telephonic pretrial, Defense Counsel had not completed an assessment of the Criminal Rule 4[(C)] issue. Following a conversation with the State, Defense Counsel began reviewing the timeline. Only on June 22, 2017 did Defense Counsel complete his calculations and determine that a Criminal Rule 4[(C)] issue existed.

         Appellant's App. Vol. II p. 109. A hearing was held on the motion, and the State argued that Myers had acquiesced to the November 2017 trial date by not objecting when that date was set at the pretrial conference. Myers's attorney disagreed and reiterated that, as of May 26, he "didn't know that there was a CR 4 issue . . . ." Tr. Vol. II p. 68. He added that June 22 "was the date that I put the math together" and that he did not "believe that there was any unreasonable delay in sitting down and doing the calculation" on that day. Id. The trial court agreed that the motion was "early enough, " id. at 69, and ordered Myers discharged.

         [¶5] The State now appeals.

         Discussion ...


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