January 29, 2010

Colorado Court of Appeals 1-21-10

People v. Glaser           Constitutional Right to Speedy Trial
The Court of Appeals noted, “As the trial court aptly observed, the procedural history of this case is extraordinarily ‘tortured and star-crossed.’ ” The trial court dismissed all the charges against Mr. Glaser. The Trial Court reasoned trial would violate Mr. Glaser's right to speedy trial under the Constitution. The Court of Appeals reversed. Facts: Essentially, Mr. Glaser hired his first lawyer, and then could no longer afford that lawyer. The Court appointed ADC (PD's had a conflict). The case went to trial, but the trial court declared a mistrial. Subsequently, Mr. Glaser's lawyer committed suicide. Mr. Glaser's second court appointed lawyer moved to continue the trial because the first court appointed lawyer committed suicide. Further, the second court appointed lawyer conceded the delay is chargeable to the defense. At the subsequent trial setting, the second court appointed lawyer did not show up because of some mental health issues. Further, during the subsequent trial (re-set because the lawyer's preceding mental illness issue), the second court appointed counsel disclosed he was suffering from mental illness. The trial court found the second court appointed counsel could not continue to represent Mr. Glaser at that time, and declared a mistrial. At one point or another prosecution took the case up a on appeal prior to trial, and the defense filed a  Rule 21 to address a bond condition - both resulting in delays.

The trial court found that the delay in proceeding to trial chargable to the government because the lawyer who committed suicide and the lawyer who suffered a mental breakdown were both hired and paid for by the State. The Court of Appeals did not like this reasoning, and reversed the trial court's order, re-instated the charges, and remanded the case. Further, the Court of Appeals did not like the "prospective delay" reasoning the trial court did in determining the violation. The trial court made its ruling in February 2008, but included the time up to trial, which was scheduled for May 2008. 

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