Friday, April 27, 2007

It Never Pays To Help A Defense Attorney Out In Fremont County

State v. Lewis, no. 05-2079 (Iowa Ct. App. April 25, 2007)

Lewis was charged with kidnaping, burglary, stalking, wilful injury, and so on on his former significant other on July 20, 2004.

An attorney was appointed and a deposition of the sig. other scheduled. The county attorney filed a motion alleging the defense attorney had a conflict of interest, stated she was ill and cancelled the deposition. The court appointed alternate counsel and continued the trial date until October 26, 2004. Another trial information charging Lewis with stalking was filed.

At pretrial on October 4, Lewis' attorney noted that the 90 day speedy trial period would lapse before the trial date, and that Lewis was not waiving the right. The court found that there was good cause to keep the October 26 date because of the previous attorney's illness and because the 26th was a regular court date.

On October 8 the sig other was deposed but ran out of the room. Lewis' attorney filed a motion to dismiss on October 21. At a hearing October 25, Lewis then waived his right to speedy trial.

A year later Lewis was tried on the minutes and convicted on burglary, stalking and assault.

Lewis appealed the decision of the trial court finding good cause for delaying the trial.

The court of appeals agreed, finding that neither a change in counsel or that counsel needed more time to prepare for trial were sufficiently good reasons to continue the trial. However, Lewis was convicted on the subsequently filed stalking charges.

The lesson for tyro prosecutors here is clear. It's the defendant's problem here.


At 7:51 PM, Blogger courtwatcher said...

I observed this case in person and one of the key events was when the Judge threatened to start the trial in "the morning" with jury selection. He said the jury would be then held on hold until deposations and discovery could be ready. In effect the defendent who was already overdue his trial would have to sit in jail until the prosecutor was ready. So much for the bill of rights etc. All this and more are part of the court records. (look it up) Even a novice can read of the case and see over prosecution. It was overturned on a small mistake when the entire mater was a black eye to the justice system.


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