Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Summary 2008 WY 109

Summary of Decision issued September 18, 2008

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

Case Name: Kurtenbach v. State

Citation: 2008 WY 109

Docket Number: S-07-0289

Appeal from the District Court of Weston County, the Honorable Dan R. Price, Judge.

Representing Appellant: Diane M. Lozano, Wyoming State Public Defender; Tina N. Kerin, Appellate Counsel; Eric M. Alden, Senior Assistant Appellate Counsel.

Representing Appellee: Bruce A. Salzburg, Attorney General; Terry L. Armitage, Deputy Attorney General; D. Michael Pauling, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Eric Johnson, Faculty Director, PAP; Brian Hunter, Student Director; and Laura J. Derry, Student Intern.

Facts/Discussion: Kurtenbach entered a conditional plea of guilty to the crime of making a false statement to obtain credit. The condition was that Kurtenbach be authorized to appeal the district court’s denial of his motion to dismiss the information based upon a claim that his right to a speedy trial was violated.
Kurtenbach committed the crime at issue on October 7, 2004. On March 2, 2005, an information was filed in the circuit court of Weston County charging Kurtenbach with three felonies that he was alleged to have committed in the process of applying for a loan from a bank to buy a motor vehicle. A warrant was signed and filed on March 9, 2005. The warrant was entered into NCIC on July 28, 2006 and he was arrested on that date. The delay in entering the arrest warrant into NCIC forms the core of Kurtenbach’s speedy trial issue.
Kurtenbach’s argument is premised on the application of the speedy trial right guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Wyoming Constitution contains a virtually identical right and since 1972, the Court has treated those two provisions as identical. The Court applied the analytical framework as articulated in Barker v. Wingo. The Court considered four factors: the length of the delay; the reason for the delay; the defendants’ assertion of his right; and the prejudice to the defendant. The ultimate question is whether the delay substantially impaired the right of the accused to a fair trial. Kurtenbach didn’t claim a violation of speedy trial as required by W.R.Cr.P. 48.
The Court noted the “delay” problem was about 17 months in length. During much of that time, Kurtenbach was incarcerated in South Dakota. The reason for the delay was a failure to enter the arrest warrant in the NCIC system. Once it was entered, Kurtenbach was located and arrested within hours.

Holding: The Court concluded that no presumption of prejudice arose because of the facts and circumstances of the case. Kurtenbach’s claims were speculative and not credible. It was unable to conclude that Kurtenbach’s right to a fair trial was substantially impaired by the State’s delay in effecting his arrest.


J. Hill delivered the decision.

Link: http://tinyurl.com/3gkwq8 .

[SPECIAL NOTE: This opinion uses the "Universal Citation." It was given an "official" citation when it was issued. You should use this citation whenever you cite the opinion, with a P.3d parallel citation. Please note when you look at the opinion that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you pinpoint cite to a quote, you should cite to this paragraph number rather than to any page number. If you need assistance in putting together a citation using the Universal Citation form, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library.]

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