Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Montgomery
Appeal from Municipal Court Trial Court Case No. 16-CRB-6920
N. WREH, Atty. Attorney for Plaintiff-Appellant.
ANGELINA N. JACKSON, Atty. Attorney for Defendant-Appellee
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.
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.
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
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(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
¶ 8. One of those reasons is a "reasonable