Friday, May 18, 2007

Summary 2007 WY 83

Summary of Decision issued May 18, 2007

[SPECIAL NOTE: This opinion uses "Universal Citation." It was given an "official" citation when issued. You should use this citation whenever you cite the opinion, with a P.3d parallel citation. You will also note that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you need to provide a pinpoint citation to a quote, the universal portion of the citation will use that paragraph number. The pinpoint citation in the P.3d portion will need to have the reporter page number. If you need assistance in putting together a citation from this, or any future opinion using the Universal Citation form, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library.]

Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court.

Case Name: Potter v. State

Citation: 2007 WY 83

Docket Number: 06-59 & 06-60

Appeal from the District Court of Laramie County, the Honorable Nicholas G. Kalokathis, Judge

Representing Appellant (Defendant): Kenneth M. Koski, State Public Defender; Donna D. Domonkos, Appellate Counsel; and Ryan R. Roden, Senior Assistant Appellate Counsel. Argument by Mr. Roden.

Representing Appellee (Plaintiff): Patrick J. Crank, Attorney General; Paul Rehurek, Deputy Attorney General; D. Michael Pauling, Senior Assistant Attorney General; and Cathleen D. Parker, Senior Assistant Attorney General. Argument by Ms. Parker.

Issue: Whether Potter was denied his right to a speedy trial.

Facts/Discussion: Pursuant to a plea agreement, Potter conditionally pleaded guilty to one count of felonious restraint in violation of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-202(a). After timely appealing both the judgment and sentence and the order revoking his probation, the matters were consolidated.
Standard of Review: The Court reviews speedy trial claims to ensure that the mandates of W.R.Cr.P. 48 and constitutional guarantees have been met. The constitutional question of whether a defendant has been denied a speedy trial in terms of the Sixth Amendment are examined de novo.
W.R.Cr.P. 48: The Court calculated the time between Potter’s arraignment and conditional plea. The Court determined there were only 107 days of delay out of the 337 day total. One hundred seven is below the limit set forth in the Rule. The 230 days difference could be attributed to proceedings related to Potter’s mental illness or deficiency which made those days excludable from the speedy trial clock under Rule 48.
Constitutional Claim: The Court focused on the benchmark test that applies to constitutional speedy trial claims from Barker v. Wingo. The Court considers the length of delay; the reason for the delay; the defendant’s assertion of his right; and the prejudice to the defendant. The total length of the delay of 362 days between arrest and final dissolution warranted examination of the other three factors. The reason for the delay was largely attributable to Potter when he pleaded not guilty by reason of mental illness and requested an evaluation. Potter’s demands for a speedy trial and the fact that he did not object when the court continued the trial amounted to a less than vigorous assertion of his right. The defendant has the burden of showing actual prejudice as a result of the delay. Potter claimed prejudice but when the Court considered all of the factors together, they concluded he was not denied his constitutional right to a speedy trial.

Holding: The Court considered all of the factors together and concluded Potter was not denied his constitutional right to a speedy trial, especially considering his relatively weightier contribution to the delay.


J. Hill delivered the decision.

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