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State v. Morgan

Court of Appeals of Idaho

June 27, 2017

STATE OF IDAHO, Plaintiff-Respondent,
DUSTIN JADE MORGAN, Defendant-Appellant.

         2017 Opinion No. 31

         Appeal from the District Court of the Fifth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Minidoka County. Hon. Jonathan P. Brody, District Judge.

         Orders denying motion to dismiss and motion to reconsider, reversed; and judgment of conviction, vacated and case remanded.

          Eric D. Fredericksen, State Appellate Public Defender; Jason C. Pintler, Deputy Appellate Public Defender, Boise, for appellant. Jason C. Pintler argued.

          Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Kenneth K. Jorgensen, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. Kenneth K. Jorgensen argued.

          HUSKEY, Judge.

         Dustin Jade Morgan appeals from his judgment of conviction and argues the district court erred when it denied Morgan's motion to dismiss.[1] Because the district court used the wrong legal authority and the incorrect standard when ruling on Morgan's motion to dismiss and motion to reconsider, we reverse the orders denying the motion to dismiss and the motion to reconsider, vacate the judgment of conviction, and remand this case to the district court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. Furthermore, since the district court did not make sufficient factual findings regarding the 2010 Montana proceedings, we cannot determine whether Morgan was arrested in 2010 or, if so, whether there was good cause for the delay.


         On December 1, 2009, [2] an Idaho police officer pursued a vehicle driven by Morgan but the vehicle successfully eluded the officer's pursuit. On January 11, 2010, the State filed a criminal complaint against Morgan, alleging felony eluding and misdemeanor driving without privileges.[3] That day, the State filed an affidavit of probable cause for warrant of arrest. The district court issued the arrest warrant. On January 21, 2010, Morgan was taken into custody in Lake County, Montana, and the State of Montana also filed a complaint and affidavit under the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act. The Montana complaint indicated Morgan was charged in Idaho with felony eluding and misdemeanor driving without privileges, and Morgan was in Lake County jail pursuant to an Idaho warrant. A Montana Justice of the Peace ordered Morgan to remain in custody for thirty days, from January 21 to February 20, 2010.

         On February 23, 2010, a Montana Justice of the Peace filed an order for Morgan's release, and the State of Idaho dismissed the Idaho charges. On February 24, 2010, the State of Idaho filed a new criminal complaint against Morgan with the same allegations.[4] Idaho also filed a new affidavit of probable cause which was identical to the first affidavit. The new Idaho warrant was issued. Montana received the warrant on February 26, 2010, and a Montana Justice of the Peace committed Morgan for another thirty days, from February 26 to March 28, 2010. On March 4, 2010, the Governor of Idaho issued an application for requisition to Montana which requested that Morgan be arrested, secured, and delivered to Idaho. Morgan and the Montana Department of Correction received the Idaho Governor's application for requisition on April 9, 2010. The Montana court dismissed the extradition proceedings on May 20, 2010, since Morgan indicated a willingness to waive the extradition. On the same day, the Montana court sentenced Morgan to fifteen years, with ten years suspended, for two Montana felony charges that were unrelated to the Idaho charges. The fugitive case in Montana was dismissed.

         Morgan was released from the Montana Department of Correction on April 7, 2015.[5] On May 18, 2015, Morgan was arrested in Idaho on the CR-2010-550 warrant involving the 2010 charges. The State filed an information on July 24, 2015, that charged Morgan with felony eluding, Idaho Code § 49-1404(2)(a), and misdemeanor driving without privileges, I.C. § 18-8001(5). Morgan filed a motion to dismiss the information, arguing the State failed to obtain an indictment or information within six months of his arrest, in violation of I.C. § 19-3501. Morgan asserted the information should have been filed within six months of January 21, 2010, [6] when arguably a warrantless arrest was effectuated, or May 20, 2010, when Morgan waived extradition to Idaho. In response, the State argued the right to a speedy trial did not apply until Morgan was arrested in Idaho, which occurred in May 2015. The State argued that because the arrest occurred in 2015 rather than 2010, the State properly filed the information within the six-month timeframe. The district court entered an order denying in part and granting in part the defendant's motion to dismiss--denying the motion as related to the eluding charge, but granting the motion for the driving without privileges charge.

         Morgan filed a motion for the district court to correct the record and reconsider or, in the alternative, a second motion to dismiss. Morgan asserted the court mistakenly relied upon the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act as the basis for its analysis and failed to find that Morgan was arrested in 2010. The State objected to Morgan's motion on the grounds that the arrest occurred in May 2015, which meant the July 2015 information was well within the six-month deadline. The district court denied the defendant's motion to reconsider. The court determined the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act applied, and in the alternative, the pre-indictment delay did not amount to a denial of due process under I.C. § 19-3501. The court explained that Morgan failed to show that the delay "substantially prejudiced the defendant or that the delay was a tactical decision made by the prosecution."

         Morgan pleaded guilty to felony eluding, conditioned upon his ability to challenge the district court's denial of his motion to dismiss. Morgan was sentenced to a suspended unified term of five years, with three years determinate, and placed on probation. Morgan timely appeals.


         Whether there was an infringement of a defendant's right to speedy trial presents a mixed question of law and fact. State v. Clark, 135 Idaho 255, 257, 16 P.3d 931, 933 (2000). We will defer to the trial court's findings of fact if supported by substantial and competent evidence; however, we will exercise free review of the trial court's conclusions of law. Id.

         Idaho Code § 19-3501(1) sets specific time limits within which a criminal defendant ...

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