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State v. Mercier

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 10-30-2013
Case #: A149513
Hadlock, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; and Sercombe, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A149513.pdf

Criminal Procedure: Under ORS 135.747, an argument that a certain amount of delay is attributable to the State and is reasonable will fail if more time is attributable to the State and no argument has been made that it is also reasonable delay.

The State appealed the trial court's dismissal of various traffic offenses charged against Defendant. Defendant was charged with DUII and other crimes on August 20, 2009. Trial was set for October 15, but was canceled by the trial court because discovery was incomplete. After a number of other delays, including, but not limited to, motions by Defendant and the State concerning the admissibility of evidence, pretrial conferences, Defendant's change of counsel, motions to continue, requests to change the trial from a one-day trial to a two-day trial, and an oversight by the State concerning its key witness, the Defendant filed a motion to dismiss on both Constitutional and statutory speedy-trial grounds. The trial court found 21 months of delay attributable to the State and dismissed the charges against Defendant. The State appealed, arguing that 1) when calculated properly, the delay that Defendant did not request or consent to was only 12 months, not 21 months; 2) under the circumstances, a 12-month delay was reasonable; and 3) the delay did not unconstitutionally prejudice Defendant. The Court held that the amount of delay attributable to the State was at least 16 months and because the State failed to argue that anything over the 12-month delay was reasonable under ORS 135.747, there is no reason to disturb the trial court's judgment dismissing the case. Affirmed.