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State v. Stinnett

Court of Appeals of Oregon

May 9, 2018

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
EVAN TOD STINNETT, Defendant-Appellant.

          Submitted March 29, 2017

          Linn County Circuit Court 13CR06170; Carol R. Bispham, Judge.

          Ernest G. Lannet, Chief Defender, Criminal Appellate Section, and Brett J. Allin, Deputy Public Defender, Offce of Public Defense Services, fled the brief for appellant.

          Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General, and Michael A. Casper, Assistant Attorney General, fled the brief for respondent.

          Before Ortega, Presiding Judge, and Egan, Chief Judge, and Lagesen, Judge.

         Case Summary: Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for driving under the influence of intoxicants, ORS 813.010(4). He assigns error to the trial court's denial of his motion to dismiss, arguing that his right to a speedy trial under Article I, section 10, of the Oregon Constitution was violated because the trial delay was not only substantially longer than average, but was unreasonable and prejudicial in that it impaired his defense and created anxiety in excess of what is typical in criminal prosecutions. Held: The trial court did not err. The Court of Appeals did not need to decide whether the delay was reasonable because, even assuming that the delay was unreasonable and caused by the state, defendant failed to prove actual prejudice.

         Affirmed.

          [291 Or.App. 639]ORTEGA, P. J.

         Defendant appeals a judgment, challenging his conviction for driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII), ORS 813.010(4).[1] He assigns error to the trial court's denial of his motion to dismiss. Specifically, defendant contends that his right to a speedy trial under Article I, section 10, of the Oregon Constitution, was violated because the trial delay was not only substantially longer than average, but was unreasonable and prejudicial in that it created anxiety in excess of what is typical in a criminal prosecution and impaired his defense. However, we need not decide the reasonableness of the delays at issue, because, even if we assume that the delays were unreasonable and attributable to the state, we conclude that defendant failed to prove actual prejudice. Accordingly, we affirm.

         We review the denial of a motion to dismiss on speedy trial grounds for legal error and are bound by the trial court's factual findings. State v. Johnson, 342 Or. 596, 608, 157 P.3d 198 (2007), cert den, 552 U.S. 1113 (2008). Here, the facts are largely procedural and undisputed.

         On August 23, 2013, the state filed an information charging defendant with a misdemeanor DUII after he failed field sobriety tests; he was arraigned five days later on August 28. From the time of the arraignment to the pretrial hearing on April 9, 2014, the parties' scheduling conflicts led to delays in setting the case for trial.[2] At that hearing, the court offered trial dates the following month, but defendant was not available then, so the court set the trial for June. On May 20, defendant alerted the court that his expert witness was not available in June and asked that the trial be continued until July 1 and 2. The court agreed. On June 24, defendant filed a motion to continue the July 1 trial out of concern that the trial would not begin that day given the rest of the court's docket; defendant did not want his expert witness's private practice to be affected if he was not needed on those days. The court granted defendant's motion, and [291 Or.App. 640] the court offered reset dates in June, August, September, and October, ultimately setting the case for October 14.

         The October 14 trial ended in a hung jury, and the court gave the state two weeks, but "no more than that, " to decide if it wanted to pursue another trial. However, the court did not intend to dismiss the case if the state did not make that decision within that time period. After consulting with one of its experts, the state decided to retry the case and, on November 5, it emailed the court to request a date for another trial; the court instructed the state to "file a formal request to have this matter placed back on the docket, " which the state did on November 14. On November 18, the court granted the state's motion for a new trial and, on December 4, the court offered to reset the trial to a date in January, February, March, or April 2015. The court also informed the parties that the dates were "being offered to multiple attorneys on different cases" and that it was scheduling on a "first come first serve" basis. The state was available on any of the offered dates, but defendant was only available for one of the dates in February and any date in April. The court set the trial for April 7, 2015.

         About a month before trial was to begin, defendant filed a motion to dismiss on speedy trial grounds, arguing that the court's lack of resources to accommodate his trial as well as the state's delay in resetting the case for trial violated his rights under Article I, section 10. Defendant argued that all delays after April 9, 2014, should be attributed to the state.

         The court denied defendant's motion, indicating that defendant's right to a speedy trial was satisfied after the first trial and that defendant should not have waited to raise his motion until the beginning of the second trial. The court also noted that defendant was offered dates before April 2015 for the second trial and that problems with the court's docket were ...


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