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State v. Jackson

Supreme Court of Montana

April 10, 2018

STATE OF MONTANA, Plaintiff and Appellee,
v.
ADAM KENNETH JACKSON, Defendant and Appellant.

          Submitted on Briefs: March 21, 2018

          APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, In and For the County of Missoula, Cause No. DC 15-687 Honorable Leslie Halligan, Presiding Judge

          For Appellant: Adam Kenneth Jackson, self-represented, Missoula, Montana

          For Appellee:Kirsten H. Pabst, Missoula County Attorney, Missoula, Montana

          OPINION

          INGRID GUSTAFSON

         ¶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 Adam Jackson (Jackson) appeals from the June 21, 2016 order of the Fourth Judicial District Court, Missoula County denying his motion to dismiss for violation of his right to speedy trial for failure to conduct his trial within the six-month deadline provided for in § 46-13-401(2), MCA. We affirm.

         ¶3 On May 9, 2015, Jackson was charged with driving under the influence of a dangerous drug in violation of § 61-8-401, MCA, and a seatbelt violation under § 61-13-103, MCA. He pled not guilty to both misdemeanor offenses on May 11, 2015. At the time of omnibus hearing on July 1, 2015, the State sought continuance as it had not received Jackson's toxicology report. As such, the Justice Court continued the omnibus to August 5, 2015. On August 5, 2015, in response to Jackson's request for continuance to provide him additional time to develop photographs of the arrest scene, the Justice Court continued the omnibus to September 2, 2015. On September 2, 2015, Jackson again requested continuance asserting he needed additional time to obtain his booking photo. Thus, the Justice Court continued the omnibus to October 7, 2015. Jackson failed to appear at the omnibus on October 7, 2015, and the Justice Court set trial for December 4, 2015. On December 3, 2015, Jackson moved for dismissal for lack of speedy trial which the Justice Court denied finding Jackson had waived his right to speedy trial under § 46-13-401, MCA, by his prior motions for continuance.

         ¶4 Jackson was convicted of the DUI offense and found not guilty of the seatbelt violation at jury trial on December 4, 2015. The Justice Court imposed sentence and Jackson timely appealed the denial of his motion to dismiss for speedy trial to the District Court. The District Court likewise denied Jackson's motion to dismiss determining "Jackson waived his right to a speedy trial with his numerous continuances." Following a bench trial, Jackson was found guilty of the DUI offense and not guilty of the seatbelt violation. The District Court imposed sentence and Jackson filed a timely appeal.

         ¶5 Jackson asserts, albeit in a non-conforming brief, the Justice Court and District Court erred in not dismissing his case for violation of his right to a speedy trial as provided by § 46-13-401(2), MCA. The State counters Jackson's continuances constitute good cause for delaying the six-month time limit set forth in § 46-13-401(2), MCA.

         ¶6 Jackson's motion to dismiss for lack of speedy trial is based upon a legal interpretation made by the District Court, we will review the court's legal conclusions as to whether the court correctly interpreted the law. State v. Luke, 2014 MT 22, ¶ 10, 373 Mont. 398, 321 P.3d 70.

         ¶7 Section 46-13-401(2), MCA, provides:

After the entry of a plea upon a misdemeanor charge, the court, unless good cause to the contrary is shown, shall order the prosecution to be dismissed, with prejudice, if defendant whose trial has not been postponed upon the defendant's motion is not brought to trial within 6 months.

         ¶8 Jackson argues § 46-13-401(2), MCA, requires dismissal. We have previously found § 46-13-401(2), MCA, mandates the dismissal of a misdemeanor charge not brought to trial within six months only if two conditions are met: (1) the defendant has not asked for a postponement; and (2) the State has not shown ...


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