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State v. Shaffer

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Montgomery

March 2, 2018

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellant
v.
PATRICK SHAFFER Defendant-Appellee

         Criminal Appeal from Municipal Court Trial Court Case No. 16-CRB-6920

          EBONY N. WREH, Atty. Attorney for Plaintiff-Appellant.

          ANGELINA N. JACKSON, Atty. Attorney for Defendant-Appellee

          OPINION

          HALL, J.

         {¶ 1} The State of Ohio appeals the trial court's dismissal of this case on speedy-trial grounds. We conclude that the trial court erred by finding a speedy-trial violation. So we reverse.

         I. Background

         {¶ 2} On October 5, 2016, Patrick Shaffer was arrested and charged with domestic violence and assault, both first degree misdemeanors. He was held on bond, and trial was scheduled for October 20. On October 19, Shaffer filed a motion to modify his bond and a motion for continuance. The trial court sustained both motions and modified Shaffer's bond to electronic home detention and scheduled a pretrial on November 7. At the pretrial, the trial was rescheduled for November 23. On November 15, the state filed a motion to continue the trial "due to the number of witnesses and the trial date's proximity to Thanksgiving." The court granted the continuance, and the trial was rescheduled for November 30. But later the parties and the court agreed to hold a competency hearing on that day for a prospective child witness. The trial was rescheduled for January 4, 2017 at the conclusion of the competency examination. By entry filed on December 5, 2016, (Doc. #60), the trial court found the child incompetent to testify.

         {¶ 3} On December 22, 2016, the state filed a notice that it intended to present statements of the child under Evid.R. 807. (Doc. #72-73). Shaffer responded on December 29, 2016 with a motion in limine to exclude the child's statements, arguing that the state's notice was deficient. (Doc. #74-77). On January 3, 2017, the day before trial, the parties discussed the matter in chambers and it was decided that the state would move for a continuance to supplement its Evid.R. 807 notice with additional information. The following day, January 4, the state filed a motion for continuance and the parties put their arguments on the record as to the sufficiency of the 807 notice. The trial court sustained the state's motion to continue, and the parties selected February 9th as the date for an Evid.R. 807 hearing and for the new trial date. The state filed its supplemental Evid.R. 807 notice at the end of January.

         {¶ 4} On February 6, Shaffer filed a motion to dismiss on speedy-trial grounds. He argued that his right to a speedy trial had been violated because the state failed to bring him to trial within the 90-day time limit under R.C. 2945.71. A dismissal hearing was held, after which the state filed a supplemental response and Shaffer filed a post-hearing brief in support of dismissal. On February 28, the court granted the motion to dismiss.

         {¶ 5} The state appealed.

         II. Analysis

         {¶ 6} In its sole assignment of error, the state argues that the trial court erred by sustaining Shaffer's motion to dismiss on speedy-trial grounds. The state contends that the court incorrectly found a statutory speedy-trial violation. We review a trial court's decision on a defendant's motion to dismiss based on speedy-trial grounds for abuse of discretion. See State v. Cassell, 2d Dist. Clark No. 09CA0064, 2011-Ohio-23, ¶ 12 ("The trial court's decision overruling Defendant's motion to dismiss based upon constitutional speedy trial grounds is reviewed under an abuse of discretion standard.").

         {¶ 7} A criminal defendant's right to a speedy trial by the state is guaranteed by both the United States Constitution and the Ohio Constitution. State v. Sanchez, 110 Ohio St.3d 274, 2006-Ohio-4478, 853 N.E.2d 283, ¶ 6. The time limits for bringing a defendant to trial are found in R.C. 2945.71 to 2945.73. "Speedy-trial provisions are mandatory, and, pursuant to R.C. 2945.73(B), a person not brought to trial within the relevant time constraints 'shall be discharged, ' and further criminal proceedings based on the same conduct are barred. R.C. 2945.7[3](D)." Id. at ¶ 7.

         {¶ 8} A person charged with a first-degree misdemeanor must be brought to trial within 90 days of the arrest date. R.C. 2945.71(B)(2). "The running of the speedy-trial clock may be temporarily stopped, that is, tolled, only for reasons listed in R.C. 2945.72." Sanchez at ΒΆ 8. One of those reasons is a "reasonable ...


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