People v. Taylor
2020 COA 79. No. 17CA2273. Criminal Law—Attempted Second Degree Murder—Consecutive Sentencing—Habitual Criminal—Crime of Violence.
May 14, 2020
Following a traffic stop, defendant was charged with aggravated motor vehicle theft, possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to manufacture or distribute marijuana or marijuana concentrate, driving under restraint, failure to signal for a turn, and illegal possession or consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle. Defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges on August 29, 2016. The district court set defendant’s pretrial readiness conference for January 23, 2017 and set his jury trial for January 24, 2017. When defendant failed to appear for the pretrial readiness conference, the court vacated his trial date. The court later concluded that by failing to appear at the trial call and by failing to be present to demand trial on his trial date, defendant waived his right to speedy trial.
During a subsequent pretrial hearing, defendant moved to dismiss the charges against him on speedy trial grounds. The court denied the motion. Defendant’s trial was eventually held on June 20–21, 2017. A jury found him guilty of aggravated motor vehicle theft, possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana, failure to signal for a turn, and illegal possession or consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle.
On appeal, defendant argued that the district court violated his statutory right to a speedy trial. The Colorado speedy trial statute requires that a person accused of a crime be brought to trial within six months of his or her not guilty plea. The six-month period is extended if the defendant fails to appear on the “trial date.” A pretrial readiness conference is not a trial date, so defendant’s failure to appear at his pretrial readiness conference did not authorize the district court to extend his speedy trial period. Further, because defendant no longer had a trial date when he failed to appear on January 24, his speedy trial period was not reset. Nearly 10 months elapsed between defendant’s not guilty plea and his trial, which exceeded the six-month speedy trial period. Thus, the district court violated defendant’s statutory right to a speedy trial.
The judgment was vacated and the case was remanded to the district court with instructions to dismiss the charges filed against defendant with prejudice.