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State v. G - Defendant Held in Custody in Another Jurisdiction Did Not Toll the Speedy Trial Clock Under State v. Chhom

April 2011

Charge:  DUI

Maximum Penalty: up to 364 days incarceration, up to a maximum $5,000 fine, driver's license suspension, ignition interlock device per DOL, 5 years probation, court ordered alcohol and drug assessment and completion of any recommended treatment.

Summary:  The defendant was facing a DUI charge and had a court date set for April 2011 in Snohomish County South District Court.  However, in March 2011 the defendant appeared in the same court, before South District Court Judge G., on City of Mill Creek cause.  Judge G. found her to be in non-compliance with her probation and revoked 60 days total jail.  The defendant was taken into custody from the court room and transported to Snohomish County Jail. After she was booked into Snohomish County jail, she was transported to Okanogan County Jail to serve out the remainder of her sentence because it was determined that the City of Mill Creek would save money by having her transferred from Snohomish County Jail to Okanogan County Jail.  In order to effectively represent her client, Ms. Pewitt filed a motion to have the defendant returned to Snohomish County Jail immediately so that she may confer with counsel and attend to her open court cases within Snohomish County.  The motion to transport the defendant was denied. The defendant missed her subsequent court dates in Snohomish County because she was being held in custody by Snohomish County outside of the jurisdiction.

Legal Issue Raised: The defendant was jailed for misdemeanor probation violation by a court of limited jurisdiction outside forum county pursuant to intercounty jailing contract that infringed upon her speedy trial rights and right to counsel.  Attorney Pewitt Argued that the defendant failing to appear at her court date was not willful because she was held in custody in another  jurisdiction by the very jurisdiction that required her presence at the missed court date.  Because her failure to appear was a result of government action in the same jurisdiction it did not toll her speedy trial clock under State v. Chhom, 162 Wash.2d 451 (2007).  The Court agreed and the State dismissed the case.

Result:  Dismissed

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.