APPEAL FROM CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH. NO. 502-272, SECTION " J" . Honorable Darryl A. Derbigny, Judge.
LEON A. CANNIZZARO, JR., District Attorney, J. BRYANT CLARK, JR., Assistant District Attorney New Orleans, LA, COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT/STATE OF LOUISIANA.
JOSHUA SCHWARTZ, ORLEANS PUBLIC DEFENDERS, New Orlens, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE.
Court composed of Judge Roland L. Belsome, Judge Daniel L. Dysart, Judge Sandra Cabrina Jenkins. DYSART, J., DISSENTS.
SANDRA CABRINA JENKINS,
[2014-0680 La.App. 4 Cir. 1] The State appeals the trial court's judgment granting defendant's motion to quash the bill of information. The trial court found that the State failed to commence trial within the two year time limitation pursuant to La. C.Cr.P. art. 578(A)(2) and granted the motion to quash. For the reasons that follow, we find no abuse of discretion in the trial court's judgment granting the motion to quash and we affirm.
RELEVANT FACTS & PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
On December 1, 2010, defendant was charged by bill of information with one count of possession of a legend drug without a prescription, a violation of La. R.S. 40:1238.1. Defendant appeared for arraignment on December 9, 2010, and pled not guilty. On January 27, 2011, defendant appeared with counsel for a motion hearing. The minute entry from that date states that the motion hearing was re-set for February 24, 2011, and that defendant was notified in court.
On February 7, 2011, defendant was arrested by the Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff's Office for an open warrant out of St. Tammany Parish. On the same date, [2014-0680 La.App. 4 Cir. 2] defendant was released into the custody of the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Department.
On February 24, 2011, defendant failed to appear for the motion hearing set in this case. The trial court issued an alias capias for defendant and a bond forfeiture hearing was set for March 16, 2011. The minute entry indicates that notice was to be sent to defendant at his address of record. Defendant did not appear at subsequent settings for the bond forfeiture. On April 13, 2011, the trial court granted the bond forfeiture, the alias capias remained in effect, and the case was continued without date.
On January 9, 2014, defendant was arrested on the alias capias issued by the trial court in this matter. On January 16, 2014, defendant appeared for a hearing, at which defendant presented evidence to the trial court that he was in custody in St. Tammany Parish when the trial court issued the alias capias. Based on the evidence presented, the trial court granted the defense motion for release of defendant, to recall the warrants, and for the reinstatement of defendant's original bond.
On January 30, 2014, defendant filed a motion to quash the bill of information on the grounds that the State had failed to bring him to trial within two years of the institution of prosecution. The trial court set a hearing for the motion on February 19, 2014. The State did not file a written opposition to defendant's motion at any time prior to the hearing. At the hearing on the motion to quash, the State did not introduce any evidence or present any testimony or argument in [2014-0680 La.App. 4 Cir. 3] opposition to defendant's motion. ...