Friday, July 03, 2009

Time's Up: Scott County Attorney Gets Faked Out By Savvy Defendant

Campbell v. State, no. 08-1249 (Iowa Ct. App. July 2, 2009).

Campbell was convicted of delivering a controlled substance, lost his appeal, and filed an application for post conviction relief. He argued that his trial counsel, his appellate counsel, and his post conviction review counsel were all ineffective for not challenging the violation of his right to be tried within one year after he was arraigned.

Campbell was arraigned on September 28, 2005. He was not tried until October 2, 2006. The court examined whether good cause existed for the delay. Campbell himself was responsible for considerable parts of the delay in filing a motion to substitute counsel on the day of trial, and a motion for a psychiatric examination . On the third date for trial Campbell demanded the presence of a DCI expert and trial was once again continued. The trial was continued until June 5, 2006 whereupon Campbell asked for substitute counsel again and had filed an ethics complaint against his attorney. Trial was rescheduled for August 7, 2006, whereupon Campbell requested DNA testing of evidence, which was granted. He then rescinded his request

The Court of Appeals found that delays which accrued after September 28, 2006 were attributable to the court or the state and reversed. Had it not been for these delays, the court reasoned, the case could have been tried within the one year timeline.

I've got a real problem with this case because it's painfully obvious that Campbell gamed the system by presenting successive unreasonable demands and delaying tactics disguised as motions on the eve of trial dates, all the while nibbling away at the one year rule. Ultimately his tactics bore fruit. I'll bet this one's going to go to the Supremes as well.

Meanwhile, watch those deadlines. I lost one because of a deadline I didn't understand.

Never again. It's a hard lesson for junior prosecutors to get taught by defendants who've learned their chops. It is probably a good idea for law enforcement to pay close attention to and track deadlines on important cases.


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