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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ind. Decisions - "Trial overturned after too many delays: Late lab results invalidate conviction"

The Court of Appeals decision Monday in Halden Martin v. State of Indiana (ILB summary here, 5th case) is the subject of this story by Nick Cusack in the Shelby County News. Some quotes:

A Tennessee man had his drunk driving conviction in Shelby County thrown out by Court of Appeals of Indiana.

In the ruling issued Monday, the court said Halden L. Martin of Knoxville, Tenn., was not given a trial in the time allotted, violating his right to a speedy trial.

A series of delays from the Indiana State Department of Toxicology invalidated the Shelby County prosecutor's case, Martin's attorney John Fierek said Tuesday.

A defendant is supposed to go to trial within a year, unless the defendant causes a delay, then it can be extended. * * *

The problem with the state's case were the events leading up to the trial, the Court of Appeals of Indiana ruled.

Martin had several continuances and delays for different reasons, including a failure to appear.

But, the big delays in going to trial, the appellate court says, were delays in getting the blood test results, the delay in getting the blood re-tested, after the original tester left the state agencies and two no shows for a deposition with that state employee.

"We had argued at trial that that shouldn't be charged to the defendant," Fierek said.

Judge Jack Tandy of Shelby Superior Court I ruled during the trial that the Martin had several delays that were his fault, his "pattern of asking for continuances," a failure to appear and "failure to actively prepare for his case."

But the appellate court ruled that the delays due to the state lab's lack of timeliness should be charged to the state, which put Martin's amount of time without a trial well over a year.

"I don't think it was the prosecutor's fault," Fierek said.

He said the Indiana State Department of Toxicology was going through a rough patch at that point, and test now come back quicker.

"You still have problems with depositions," the Indianapolis-based attorney said.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 10, 2013 10:02 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions