December 1, 2009 By Wallin & Klarich

In a follow-up to a blog previously posted on this site, the California Supreme Court has decided to review to Riverside County criminal cases that had been dismissed for lack of a judge to hear them. The case that was previously posted on and that is currently under review by the California Supreme Court is People v. Wagner. This is the case where the defendant allegedly shot the victim in both knees after the defendant accompanied a female friend to help her retrieve her dog from her ex-boyfriend, the victim. The defendant was charged with very serious crimes and was facing many years in state prison. However, when his trial date got to the “last day” where a continuance would violate his constitutional speedy trial rights and the presiding judge found that there were no court rooms to hear the case, all charges were dismissed.

The Riverside District Attorney’s office decided to appeal the judge’s decision to the court of appeal and argued that the judge abused his discretion and that the criminal case should have been heard before other civil cases and that the court erred by failing to conclude that court congestion and mismanagement constituted good cause to continue the case. The Court of Appeal rejected the DA’s arguments and found that the judge did not abuse his discretion. The DA’s office appealed that decision to the California Supreme Court who decided to hear the case.

Riverside County has had 349 felony and misdemeanor dismissals since 2007 because the court could not commence the accused trials within the statutorily required time period. Riverside criminal courts are considered to be the most congested in the state. We will follow closely how the California Supreme Court decides this important case.

It is important to contact a criminal defense attorney who can provide clarity in terms of your speedy trial rights under the Constitution. If you or someone you love has been accused of a crime in California, contact the experienced Southern California criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich today at 1-888-280-6839 or for a consultation of your case. We can help you.

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