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State v. Springer

Supreme Court of Montana

July 18, 2017

STATE OF MONTANA, Plaintiff and Appellee,
v.
JOHN ROBERT SPRINGER, Defendant and Appellant.

          Submitted on Briefs June 14, 2017

         APPEAL FROM District Court of the Thirteenth Judicial District, In and For the County of Yellowstone, Cause No. DC 14-0081 Honorable Gregory R. Todd, Presiding Judge

          For Appellant Ashley Harada, Harada Law Firm, PLLC, Billings, Montana

          For Appellee Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Jonathan M. Krauss, Assistant Attorney General, Helena, Montana

          Scott Twito, Yellowstone County Attorney, Julie Patten, Deputy County Attorney, Billings, Montana

          OPINION

          BETH BAKER JUSTICE.

         ¶1 Pursuant to Section I, Paragraph 3(c), 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 John Springer appeals the Thirteenth Judicial District Court's denial of his motion to dismiss charges relating to his arrest for driving under the influence (DUI). He asserts that the proceedings violated his constitutional right to a speedy trial. We affirm.

         ¶3 Springer was arrested on January 20, 2014, and subsequently charged with felony DUI and other related offenses. The District Court set trial for May 6, 2014. Springer was appointed new counsel, who filed a motion to reset trial. The court rescheduled trial for September 10, 2014.

         ¶4 Springer posted bond on July 10, 2014. The terms of his release mandated that he comply with the "24/7" sobriety program. Eight days later, on July 18, Springer failed his breath test-in violation of the program-and was placed under arrest.

         ¶5 The District Court rescheduled trial sua sponte from September 10, 2014, to November 24, 2014. After that trial date passed with no resolution, the court rescheduled trial again for February 24, 2015. The State filed an amended information in January 2015.

         ¶6 On February 19, 2015, Springer was released from jail on his own recognizance. The next day, he filed a motion to continue trial because counsel could no longer represent him due to a conflict. The court granted the motion and rescheduled trial for June 24, 2015. Springer violated the terms of his release again on April 9, 2015, and returned to jail.

         ¶7 Springer filed a motion to dismiss on May 29, 2015, arguing that his right to a speedy trial had been violated. Because Springer filed his motion so close to the June 24 trial date, the court reset trial for August 11, 2015. The District Court denied Springer's motion to dismiss. It concluded that the State met its burden of showing that Springer had not been denied his right to a speedy trial. The court found that Springer had caused much of the delay through his motions to continue, and that the portion of the delay attributable to the State was merely institutional delay. The court concluded further that the delay did not prejudice Springer.

         ¶8 On August 7, 2015-four days before trial-Springer pleaded guilty to felony DUI. He reserved his right to appeal the court's denial of his motion to dismiss for speedy trial violations. The length of the delay between the time of Springer's arrest and his guilty plea ...


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