State v. Rose

2009 MT 4, 348 Mont. 291, 202 P.3d 749



A court presented with a speedy trial claim analyzes and balances four factors: (1) the length of the delay; (2) the reasons for the delay; (3) the accused's responses to the delay; and, (4) prejudice to the accused. 


Appellant was arrested on January 11, 2002, in Ravalli County following an incident in which he kidnapped a friend and co-workers at knife point, badly cutting the latter when he tried to escape. Both appellant and his co-worker required medical attention. Later, upon his release from the hospital, appellant obtained pepper spray inadvertently left in the back of a patrol car and sprayed a law enforcement officer with it. The odyssey which occurred between the arrest on January 11, 2002, and his eventual trial which commenced 507 days later, on June 2, 2003, is summarized here as it relates to Rose's claim that he was denied a speedy trial and his claim that he was denied a hearing to address his complaints about his lawyers. The court first held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying defendant's motion to dismiss for lack of a speedy trial. Although the period between defendant's arrest and his trial date was a substantial delay of 507 days, 199 days were attributable to institutional delay and the remaining portion was caused by defendant's motions for continuances and the State's objections to the motions for continuances. 


Did the District Court err in denying Rose's motion to dismiss for lack of a speedy trial?




Factor one which talks about the Length of Delay, weighs in favor of Rose. The period between his arrest and his trial date is 507 days. This is indeed a substantial delay. However, considering the reasons for the delay under Factor Two, the length of the delay does not require that the charges be dismissed. The entire 199 days of delay attributable to the State is institutional delay. The remaining portion of the delay, 308 days, was not only caused by Rose, the State repeatedly objected to his motions for continuances. Thus, we must conclude that Rose's right to a speedy trial was not violated by the length of the delay.

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