APPEAL FROM CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH. NO. 499-261, SECTION " J" . Honorable Darryl A. Derbigny, Judge.
Leon A. Cannizzaro, Jr., District Attorney, Scott G. Vincent, Assistant District Attorney, Parish of Orleans, New Orleans, LA, COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT/ STATE OF LOUISIANA.
Mary Constance Hanes, LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT, New Orleans, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE.
(Court composed of Judge Max N. Tobias, Jr., Judge Edwin A. Lombard, Judge Madeleine M. Landrieu).
Madeleine M. Landrieu,
[2014-0415 La.App. 4 Cir. 1] The State of Louisiana appeals the trial court's judgment granting the motion of defendant, Roderick West, to quash the bill of information filed against him as the State failed to bring him to trial within the time limit established by law. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the trial court's judgment.
On August 10, 2010, Mr. West was charged by bill of information with one count of theft of five hundred dollars or more, a violation of Louisiana Revised Statute 14:67. An alias capias was subsequently issued for his arrest. On August 23, 2010, Mr. West failed to appear for arraignment. The minute entry for that date provides that Mr. West was at large. In September of 2010, Mr. West again failed to appear for arraignment. A minute entry from that arraignment provides that Mr. West was not served, arraignment was reset, and notice was mailed to Mr. West at his last known address contained in the Motions System. On September 22, 2010, Mr. West again failed to appear for arraignment, and the matter was continued without a date. The issued alias capias remained in effect.
[2014-0415 La.App. 4 Cir. 2] On July 19, 2013, Mr. West was arrested. Thereafter, he appeared at court with counsel at which time his arraignment was scheduled for July 26, 2013. At the arraignment, Mr. West entered a plea of not guilty and filed a motion to quash the bill of information on grounds that more than two years had elapsed since the State instituted its prosecution against him. Mr. West was subsequently released on a recognizance bond. On September 4, 2013, the trial court granted Mr. West's motion to quash.
In its sole assignment of error, the State contends that the trial court erred in granting Mr. West's motion to quash. For the reasons that follow, we find this assignment of error to be without merit and affirm the judgment of the trial court.
Mr. West is charged with theft of over five hundred dollars which is a non-capital felony punishable by imprisonment with or without hard labor for not more than ten years. La. R.S. 14:67(B)(1); La.C.Cr.P. art. 933(3). Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure article 578 provides that in such cases (non-capital felonies) " no trial shall be commenced nor any bail obligation be enforceable... after two years from the date of institution of the prosecution." Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure article 578(A)(2) provides that upon expiration of this time period, " the court shall, upon motion of the defendant prior to trial, dismiss the indictment." Mr. West argues that the ...