DON'T Give Up (Waive) Your Right To a Speedy Trial in California. You're Criminal Case Could Be Dismissed If There is a Lack of Courtrooms and Judges Available In TIme

State high court upholds dismissal of 18 criminal cases in Riverside County because of judges shortage [updated]

The defendants in the two felonies and 16 misdemeanors declined to waive their rights to a speedy trial, forcing a trial judge to dismiss the charges because there were no courtrooms available.

---------------------------------------Please read CopWatch comment to this article---

October 25, 2010 

California's budget crisis has proved a boon for some defendants.

In a unanimous ruling, the California Supreme Court on Monday upheld the dismissal of 18 criminal cases, two of them felonies, in Riverside County because there were not enough judges to hear them.

The court blamed the problem on the state's failure to hire more judges.

Chief Justice Ronald M. George, writing for the court, said Riverside County's "congested criminal caseload represented a chronic" problem.

"The lack of available courtrooms and judges was attributable to the Legislature's failure to provide a number of judges and courtrooms sufficient to meet the rapidly growing population in Riverside County," wrote George, who has been lobbying legislators for years for more judges.

The defendants in the two felonies and 16 misdemeanors declined to waive their rights to a speedy trial, forcing a trial judge to dismiss the charges because there were no courtrooms available.

Riverside County prosecutors challenged the dismissal, arguing that the court should have made every judge in the courthouse, including those in juvenile, family law and probate, available for the cases.


Updated at 12:40 p.m.: The ruling also was a victory for defendants in an additional 300 Riverside County criminal cases that had been dismissed for lack of judges and were on appeal, said County Deputy Public Defender Wiliam A. Meronek. 

"The courts are just overwhelmed by both the exponential growth in population and by some extent to the district attorney's charging policy," Meronek said. "They tend to pursue everything, and they are reluctant to plea bargain or negotiate any settlement."]

-- Maura Dolan


We have long encouraged people who are being charged with "crimes" to maintain their right to a speedy trial.  That will keep the case from dragging on for months and months.   It will also likely allow you to plea bargain for something you would prefer, rather than some shitty deal the prosecutor comes up with to really screw you.  You can craft a plea bargain deal and offer it to the prosecutor as something you will accept.  in return, you will not make them take you to trial.  At first, the proscutor will reject your plea bargain idea, but as time gets closer to thier deadline to take you to trial, they will probably becmoe more agreeable to what you want.  THE REASON: The court system and the prosecution do not have the time, energy, judges, juries, or resources to take everyone to trial, much less begin a trial quickly.  If they cannot take you to trial on time, the case should be dismissed.  That is why they "plea bargain" cases out before trial.


Here's one problem:  People need to tell their Public Defender first thing "I do not give up my right to a speedy trial"  or " I do not waive time"  (They mean the same thing).  Otherwise, your public defender will push you into giving up that right ("waiving time") if you are not in jail, sometimes without even explaining it to you.  Legally, you are supposed to only be able to give up that right if you do it openly and KNOWINGLY in open court.  But in Humboldt County, sometimes the judge and the public defender do not make that right clear for the defendant to understand, and the judge or the public defender will give that Consitutional right up FOR THE DEFENDANT without the defendant knowing that's what is happening!  (It's totally illegal, but it happens all the time).


So, the moment you meet your public defender in court, tell them "I do not give up my right to a speedy trial."  Or better yet, say:  "I want my right to a speedy trial.'  If the public defender gives you a hard time, don't worry.. Just tell her/him that you do not want to give up any rights at this time. 


If you have already given up your right to a speedy trial, you can change your mind and take the right back.  They call that "pulling the time waiver."  So, if you want to reclaim your right to a speedy trial, tell your public defender (or whoever your lawyer is) that you want to PULL THE TIME WAIVER. Or "I want my right to a speedy trial. i'm not giving it up any more."  That's your right; again, not for your public defender to decide for you.  Once you go to court and assert that right, then, you must be brought to trial within 30 days (for misdemeanors & infractions) from when you pulled your time waiver (sometimes less than 30 in certain situations, sometimes more than 30 if the case involves a felony).  If the system can't handle starting your trial within that time (no judges or courtrooms available), and you haven't already agreed to a plea bargain, instead of trial, to end the case- then the case must be dismissed.  That's what happened many times over in Riverside County.


In some states, a so-called speedy trial is within 6 months (for example, last time I checked in Montana, it was 6 months- disgusting.)!!  But in California, it is much less, so we should USE THAT RIGHT to get what we want!!  Play hardball.  The system plays hard with you.  Keep your rights!


* One exception:  If you are really interested in taking a case to trial, and no plea bargain will make you happy, AND you don't want the case dismissed (that happens sometimes, like in some political cases)... then you might want a lot of time to prepare for trial. And you may decide to waive [give up] your right to a speedy trial.  You can always take the right back when you feel ready!






In August of 2010 "Sobriety Check Points", or "Public Safety Check Points" were setup through out California and other states.  The check point programs is funded by The Office of Traffic Safety, which also pays for the officers overtime.  The whole program and it's funding is based off of statistics for DUI and DWI convictions.

Upon myself being caught up in the check Point trap in Oakland, Ca. with severe allergies the officer  concluded I was "impaired",  and then asked to provide a field sobriety check.  I refused the field check and was taken to one of their mobile units were 10 cops stood with black boots and sat me down and handed a me a tube to the breath machine (Intoxlizer 5000, Alcotest 7110 MKIII-C). 

The machine came back with .13 and .14.   Granted, I keep telling these guys i was refusing the all sobriety checks.. period.!  This was done on 3 occasions before those readings came back. With every refusal request i made it was meet with "just get his fucking blood", "screw this", "get his blood"....   So, I did submit to the machine blowing test for fear the goons would hold me down for my blood.  At that point - License Pulled - Jail - Car towed w/30day hold - citation for driving under suspended...  bam!   -   Noting - license issues was cleared that Monday with a fine payment of $ 50.00 and reinstatement fee of $25.00 the license issues was out of the way.  Never had the knowledge there was a hold on my CDL, my registration and insurance was up to date...

The breath machine (Intoxlizer 5000, Alcotest 7110 MKIII-C), all of these units sold to all the state agencies and funded through the traffic safety offices,  were found to over read BAC. by .05 - .20 depending on where the unit was located.  Look up the State v. Jane H. Chun, all of the units should have been upgraded with newly re-written software, none have been repaired.  Also, any vehicles seized by officers and placed under "14602.6" tow authority are to be released to a person you have signed over authority to operate and move temporally to a chosen address.. Towing companies can do this..!  Further, 30 day impounds releases mush be given to the registered owner(s) if the vehicle was not used in a crime or is part of criminal activity evidence or if the the driver of the vehicle license was suspended for minor traffic violation. Miranda v. Cornilus.  


"I want my right to a speedy trial" is the best language to use.  It's too confusing to use terms like "I don't waive time", or  "no time waiver," or  "I'm pulling the time waiver"- those words are shoudl probably be avoided so your clear and whoever you hears you knows you are asserting your right.
Always be clear and say (as many times, and on as many instances as necessary):  "I want my right to a speedy trial."  or "I maintain my right to a speedy trial."
Simple and Consistent.

I moved to Riverside Conty in 2007 from Humboldt to work for the Riverside County Public Defender as a senior felony trial attorney in Indio. The practice of the Riverside District Attorney in causing the delay of speedy trials is legend in Riverside County. In 2008 there were 37 defendants who had been in custody over three year-four years waiting for trial. I personally made every effort to annouce ready for trial within 60 days after the preliminary hearing, and tried to avoid waiving time for the preliminary hearing unless the benefit to the defendant made it necessary. My practice of refusing to waive time made the D.A. angry and forced cases to trial before the prosecution was ready. The defendants were the ones who benefited from this practice. I moved back to Humboldt in September after 8 homicide trial, 2 death penalty cases, and countless serious felony matters. The D.A. Rod Pacheco was defeated in the primary election for his deconian practices and denail of due process, all of which cost the citizens of Riverside millions of tax dollars. David Prendergast