APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Thirteenth Judicial District, In and For the County of Yellowstone, Cause No. DC 10-416 Honorable Gregory R. Todd, Presiding Judge
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Brian Morris
Submitted on Briefs: October 10, 2012
Justice Brian Morris delivered the Opinion of the Court.
¶1 Pursuant to Section I, Paragraph 3(d), Montana Supreme Court Internal Operating Rules, this case is decided by memorandum opinion and shall not be cited and does not serve as precedent. Its case title, cause number, and disposition shall be included in this Court's quarterly list of noncitable cases published in the Pacific Reporter and Montana Reports.
¶2 Appellant Jonathan Anthony Sisneros (Sisneros) appeals the District Court's order denying his motion to dismiss for lack of a speedy trial. We affirm.
¶3 The State charged Sisneros with felony kidnapping on August 4, 2010. The District Court originally appointed Matthew Claus, public defender, to represent Sisneros. Claus represented Sisneros for one month. Sisneros grew dissatisfied with Claus's representation. Sisneros then hired Erik Moore in September 2010. Moore withdrew as counsel on October 12, 2010. Moore explained to the court that he could not work effectively with Sisneros.
¶4 The court held three separate status hearings after Moore withdrew to ensure that Sisneros would receive new counsel. Sisneros indicated at the first hearing that he wanted a new public defender. The court advised Sisneros that new counsel probably would not be ready to go to trial on the scheduled date of one month after the hearing. The public defender's office explained at the third hearing that Sisneros's case had been assigned to a new attorney in the office. Sisneros had complained about the assignment of counsel, so the public defender's office had assigned Sisneros's case to contract counsel, Garth McCarty. The court continued the trial date to allow McCarty time to prepare. Sisneros complained about the continuance, but the court explained that it was the only option in light of Sisneros's desire to be represented by new counsel at trial.
¶5 McCarty filed notice on November 8, 2010, in which he informed the court that the case had been assigned to him. McCarty filed many documents on Sisneros's behalf over the next two months, including six motions, demand for discovery, and a motion to continue. McCarty requested a continuance of the November 30, 2010, trial date on the grounds that he needed additional time to prepare. The State did not object to the continuance "so long as speedy trial is tolled during the time of the continuance." McCarty attached a Waiver of Speedy Trial signed by Sisneros.
¶6 The court held a hearing on March 7, 2011, to address Sisneros's motion to suppress statements that he had made to officers. McCarty requested a brief continuance on Sisneros's behalf of the March 23, 2011, trial date based upon the need to interview additional witnesses to ensure that he had received all discovery. Sisneros refused to waive his right to a speedy trial at that time. The court nevertheless reset the trial date for April 19, 2011. The State then filed a motion to continue on the basis that the prosecutor had a longstanding commitment on April 19, 2011, and would not be available for trial on that date. The court reset the trial for June 21, 2011.
¶7 The court held a hearing on May 3, 2011, to determine the status of Sisneros's counsel. McCarty informed the court that he was moving to withdraw because the attorney-client relationship had become irretrievably broken. Sisneros complained that he had not received discovery from the State and that "everybody is up against me," including McCarty. Sisneros filed a complaint against McCarty with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. The State opposed McCarty's motion to withdraw.
¶8 McCarty responded to Sisneros's complaint by informing the court that the State had acted in good faith regarding discovery. The court noted that it appeared McCarty had provided aggressive representation for Sisneros. The court informed Sisneros that the public defender's office might not assign new counsel if McCarty withdrew. The court explained to Sisneros the difficulties of representing himself and urged him to reconsider ...