Friday, May 18, 2007

Defendant sought to dismiss her criminal case for abusing a vulnerable adult on speedy trial grounds, see 29-1207 and Constitutional provisions, US Constitution Amendment 6, Nebraska Constitution Article 1 Section 11. State v. Sommer, S-06-832 Defendant claimed that a continuance the court initiated took her trial date outside the 6 month deadline in 29-1207 and the State did not have good cause to have the case continued. See 29-1207(4)(f). The court of appeals remanded for the district court to determine if good cause existed for the continuance. The district court noted that there was a pending double murder case near the same time, but made no further findings. Supreme Court reverses and orders the case dismissed. The State must prove by a substantial preponderance of the evidence that good cause exists for a continuance outside the Defendant's six month speedy trial right. Here the district court did not establish good cause by this standard. The court produced a certified copy of three journal entries from a pending murder case in that court. The journal entries reveal that the defendant in that case waived his right to a jury trial and that a trial to the court was scheduled on July 18 and 19, 2005. Also on July 13, the defendant in that case entered guilty pleas and sentencing was deferred to September 9. This simply does not indicate that this defendant's case could not have been tried prior to July 24, the final trial date for speedy trial purposes.

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