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State v. Llamas

Supreme Court of Montana

June 27, 2017

STATE OF MONTANA, Plaintiff and Appellee,
v.
SYLVIA R. LLAMAS, Defendant and Appellant.

          Submitted on Briefs: May 17, 2017

         APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Second Judicial District, In and For the County of Silver Bow, Cause No. DC-14-108 Honorable Brad Newman, Presiding Judge

          For Appellant: Chad Wright, Chief Appellate Defender, Moses Okeyo, Assistant Appellate Defender, Helena, Montana

          For Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Ryan W. Aikin, Assistant Attorney General, Helena, Montana, Eileen Joyce, Silver Bow County Attorney, Ann M. Shea, Deputy County Attorney, Butte, Montana.

          OPINION

          MIKE McGRATH, CHIEF JUSTICE

         ¶1 Sylvia Llamas appeals from the District Court's memorandum and order filed August 3, 2015, denying her motion to dismiss the criminal charges against her for lack of a speedy trial. We affirm.

         ¶2 We restate the issues on appeal as follows:

Issue One: Did the District Court err in denying Llamas' motion to dismiss for failure to provide a speedy trial?
Issue Two: Did Llamas receive ineffective assistance of counsel in regard to her motion to dismiss for failure to provide a speedy trial?

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         ¶3 On May 16, 2014, police arrested Llamas at a casino in Butte, Montana. She attempted a robbery with a handgun and was being subdued by patrons when the police arrived. The State filed a complaint in Justice Court on May 19 charging Llamas with felony robbery and the Justice Court set bail at $25, 000. The Justice Court did not conduct any other proceedings. In June 2014 the State sought and obtained leave to file an information charging Llamas with felony robbery in violation of § 45-5-401(1)(b), MCA; felony possession of dangerous drugs in violation of § 45-9-102, MCA; and use of a firearm in violation of § 46-18-221, MCA. Llamas moved to reduce her bail but, after a hearing, the District Court denied the motion.

         ¶4 Llamas appeared in District Court on the charges on July 10, 2014, and pled not guilty. The District Court set the omnibus hearing for August 14. On August 4 the office of the State Public Defender moved to substitute Llamas' attorney due to a conflict of interest. Llamas appeared with her new attorney at the August 14 hearing and the District Court set trial for January 27, 2015.

         ¶5 On January 13, 2015, Llamas' new attorney sought leave to withdraw from the case based upon Llamas' request that he do so, and upon conflicts between the two. The District Court conducted a hearing on January 15 at which Llamas agreed that she had irreconcilable conflicts with her attorney. She requested a new attorney and agreed that appointing new counsel would require the District Court to vacate the January 27, 2015 trial date. The District Court granted Llamas' request, vacated the trial date, and ordered the Public Defender to arrange for a new attorney. Her new attorney filed a notice of appearance on January 29, 2015.

         ¶6 The District Court conducted a status conference on March 12, 2015. The attorneys committed to be ready for trial in 60 days, and the District Court reset the trial for May 26, 2015. On March 19 the District Court reduced bail to $5, 000. Llamas did not make bail and remained in jail.

         ¶7 On May 6, 2015, the defendant moved to dismiss the charges for lack of a speedy trial. The District Court set a hearing on the motion for June 11, 2015, and vacated the May 26 trial date. On June 1, 2015, the attorneys stipulated to vacating the June 11 motion hearing as "unnecessary" and to submitting the speedy trial motion on ...


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