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Both a motion to suppress and a demand for speedy trial are vehicles to secure a defendant's constitutional rights. The motion to suppress sounds in the constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. U.S. Const. amend. IV and XIV; Art. 1, § 12, Fla. Const. The demand for a speedy trial sounds in the constitutional right to a speedy and public trial. U.S. Const. amend. VI and XIV; Art. 1, § 16(a), Fla. Const. A person does not ordinarily abandon the right to seek suppression of evidence unlawfully seized merely by demanding a speedy trial.
In November 2012, defendant was charged with aggravated assault and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He filed two separate motions to suppress physical evidence. The trial court conducted an evidentiary hearing on the motions on June 23, 2014. During the hearing, defendant’s counsel advised the court that defendant has been incarcerated for over 600 days awaiting trial. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court indicated that it would issue an order ruling on the motions after the testimony was transcribed. The transcript was filed on July 16, 2014, on which date the court advised the parties that its order on the suppression motions would be issued by August 20, 2014. On July 28, 2014, after the suppression hearing had been fully concluded and the hearing transcript filed, but before the court had issued its rulings on the motions, defendant filed a demand for a speedy trial. In response, the trial court immediately entered an order declining to rule on the pending motions concluding that defendant, by demanding a speedy trial, constructively abandoned them. The trial court set the trial to commence on August 5, 2014, leaving the motions to suppress unresolved. Both the State and the defendant filed petitions for mandamus to require the trial court to rule on the defendant’s pending motions to suppress.
Was a writ of mandamus to require a trial court to rule on defendant's pending motions to suppress, under Fla. R. Crim. P 3.190(g), appropriate when the trial court entered an order declining to rule on the pending motions, concluding that defendant, by demanding a speedy trial under Fla. R. Crim. P 3.191, constructively abandoned them?
The court held that the trial court's refusal to rule had no lawful basis because defendant did not abandon the right to seek suppression of evidence unlawfully seized merely by demanding a speedy trial as the speedy trial demand was compatible with the pending motions to suppress. Additionally, the trial court had time to issue its rulings on the schedule it had established and still set trial to commence within the time required under Fla. R. Crim. P 3.191.