APPEAL FROM CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH NO. 508-301, SECTION "C" Honorable Benedict J. Willard, Judge
Leon A. Cannizzaro, Jr. District Attorney J. Bryant Clark, Jr. Assistant District Attorney Parish of Orleans COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT/STATE OF LOUISIANA
Demetrie E. Ford COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE
Court composed of Judge Edwin A. Lombard, Judge Roland L. Belsome, Judge Joy Cossich Lobrano
Judge Edwin A. Lombard
The State seeks reversal of the trial court judgment granting the defendant's motion to quash the bill of information. After review of the record in light of the applicable law and arguments of the parties, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.
Relevant Facts and Procedural History
On July 6, 2011, a Chase Visa debit card was stolen and used to obtain over $1500 in cash from Harrah's Casino, Walgreens, and Brothers Food. On August 25, 2011, Dominque Domino was charged by bill of information with unauthorized use of an access card as theft, a violation of La. Rev. Stat. 14:67, and obstruction of justice, a violation of La. Rev. Stat. 14:67.3(A). At his arraignment on August 30, 2011, the defendant pleaded not guilty. On October 13, 2011, the trial court found insufficient probable cause to substantiate the charges "due to the State not announcing ready when the matter was called in open court" and the State's failure to turn over the police report until the date of the hearing. The State sought supervisory review of this ruling but due to its three requests to extend the return date, the writ was not filed in this court until January 25, 2012.
Meanwhile, the defendant waived extradition to Florida and, according to the court minutes of October 31, 2011, failed to appear at the scheduled hearing because he "is said to be incarcerated in the State of Florida." The trial court issued an alias capias and continued the hearing without date. Although this court subsequently (on March 14, 2012) granted the State's writ application, vacated the ruling of October 13, 2011, and remanded the matter back to the trial court for further proceedings court, State v. Domino, unpub. 2012-0166 (La.App. 4 Cir. 3/14/12), the State took no further action until after the defendant's arrest in July 2014. On July 23, 2014, the defendant was released by the trial court and the alias capias was recalled. On August 20, 2014, the defendant moved to quash the bill of information, arguing that the State failed to timely prosecute the charges after filing the bill of information on August 26, 2011. A hearing on the motion was initially set for September 5, 2014, but continued until September 12, 2014, by motion of the State. Notably, the State never filed a written response to the motion and arrived at the hearing apparently unprepared, arguing that the defendant, in waiving his extradition to Florida, "basically absconded, even though he was in the custody of jail, he absconded knowing that he had pending charges." Further, the State argued that the "clock was still ticking" until a notice was filed in accordance with La. Code Crim. Proc. art. 579(C). The State was unaware of this court's judgment of March 2012 granting the State's writ and remanding the matter back for further proceedings. 
The trial judge, finding the State arguments unpersuasive, granted the defendant's motion to quash. The State appeals.
Standard of Review
A trial court's ruling on a motion to quash is a discretionary one, which should not be disturbed absent a clear abuse of discretion. State v. Love, 2000-3347, pp. 9-10 (La. 5/23/07), 847 So.2d 1198, 1206; State v. Sorden, 2009-1416, p. 3 (La.App. 4 Cir. 8/14/10), 45 So.3d 181, 183.
Louisiana's relevant statute provides that no felony trial, other than for a capital offense, may be commenced two years after the date the prosecution was instituted, see La. Code Crim. Proc. art. ...