from the Ripley Circuit Court The Honorable James D.
Humphrey, Special Judge Trial Court Cause No.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Leanna Weissmann Lawrenceburg,
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Samuel J. Dayton Deputy Attorney General
After serving nearly eleven years in the Department of
Correction as an habitual offender, Stanley Watson attained
post-conviction relief and had his habitual offender status
vacated. The State then filed a new petition alleging that
Watson was an habitual offender based on other information.
After continuances, delays, and recusals amounting to another
six and two-thirds years, Watson was once again adjudicated
to be an habitual offender. Now, Watson appeals his habitual
offender status, arguing that his right to a speedy trial was
violated pursuant to Indiana Criminal Rule 4(C). Finding that
the State failed to bring Watson to court within the one-year
deadline, we reverse and remand with instructions to vacate
Watson's habitual offender status.
In 2001, Watson was convicted of Class A felony dealing in
cocaine and Class A conspiracy to deliver cocaine following a
jury trial. In a separate hearing, the jury also adjudicated
Watson to be an habitual offender based on convictions from
1990, 1992, and 1997. Then, on August 28, 2001, the trial
court sentenced Watson to fifty years imprisonment, enhanced
by thirty years due to the habitual offender adjudication,
for an aggregate sentence of eighty years.
However, on April 2, 2012, the trial court granted
Watson's petition for post- conviction relief and vacated
the habitual offender adjudication, finding that two of the
three felonies cited by the State could not form the basis of
an habitual offender adjudication. The State was granted
leave to amend the information, and on November 28, 2012, the
State refiled its habitual offender allegation based on three
other convictions from 1972, 1977, and 1981.
The following represents the long procedural history of this
case after the State refiled the habitual offender
• On January 11, 2013, Watson moved to continue the
hearing originally set for January 29, 2013. The trial court
granted the motion on January 14, 2013, and scheduled the new
hearing for September 10, 2013.
• On September 13, 2013, Watson moved to continue the
hearing again, with Watson's counsel stating that he had
been "unable to secure [Watson's] attendance,"
appellant's app. vol. ii p. 102, for the September 10,
2013, hearing because Watson was in federal prison for an
unrelated matter. The trial court granted Watson's motion
and scheduled the new hearing for June 3, 2014.
• On November 14, 2013, the trial court sua
sponte-and without explanation-rescheduled Watson's
hearing for July 8, 2014.
• On June 12, 2014, Watson again moved to continue the
July 8, 2014, hearing because Watson's counsel was
working on a murder trial and could not be present at the
July 8 hearing. On June 16, 2014, the trial court granted
Watson's motion and rescheduled the hearing for February
• Then, on January 21, 2015, the trial court judge
issued an order recusing himself from all proceedings related
to Watson's habitual offender status, citing a conflict
• A new special judge was appointed for the matter on
January 28, 2015. However, the new special judge did not
accept his appointment until August 12, 2015, after entering
an order detailing his assignment.
• On October 20, 2015, the trial court set the matter
for pretrial conference on March 8, 2015,  and for hearing
on April 5, 2016. On March 2, 2016, the trial court sua
sponte rescheduled the pretrial conference for March 9,
• At the March 9, 2016, pretrial conference, the State
moved to continue the proceedings, which the trial court
granted over Watson's objections. The trial court then
scheduled the new pretrial conference for September 12, 2016,
and the new hearing for October 18, 2016. Later, on May 10,
2016, the trial court sua sponte moved the hearing
to October 4, 2016, two weeks earlier ...