CRIMINAL LAW

Interstate Agreement on Detainers • Speedy Trial

Commonwealth v. Horne, PICS Case No. 14-0501 (Pa. Super. March 28, 2014) Lazarus, J. (15 pages).

Appellant was timely tried for purposes of Interstate Agreement on Detainers and speedy trial. Affirmed.

Various charges were filed against Horne in York County while he was incarcerated in Maryland pursuant to a Maryland conviction. Horne was transferred under IAD first, to Franklin County, Pa., to face charges in that jurisdiction. He was released to York County on Dec. 22, 2010.

Concerned with compliance with the IAD, commonwealth accelerated the timeline and called the case for trial on April 13, 2011. Without a hearing, trial court found that the time limits imposed by IAD had been violated and dismissed the York County charges against Horne.

Commonwealth appealed and Superior Court reversed and remanded. Trial court held a hearing on the issue of timeliness under the IAD. It denied Horne’s motion to dismiss, concluding that 111 days had elapsed and commonwealth had nine days in which to try Horne.

Horne’s first trial began on April 2, 2012 (guilty), his second, on April 9, 2012 (guilty), his third on May 7, 2012 (guilty) and his fourth, on May 14, 2012 (guilty). Court sentenced Horne to an aggregate term of 16 to 45 years of incarceration.

Horne appealed, arguing, inter alia, that trial court erred in denying his motion to dismiss due to a violation of the IAD and of his right to speedy trial. The Superior Court affirmed.

The IAD establishes procedures for the transfer of prisoners incarcerated in one jurisdiction (the “sending state”) to the temporary custody of another jurisdiction (the “receiving state”), which has lodged a detainer against them. Trial must be commenced within 120 days of the arrival of prisoner in the receiving state, but for good cause shown in open court, prisoner or his counsel being present, the court may grant any necessary or reasonable continuance. The running of such time period is tolled whenever and for as long as prisoner is unable to stand trial, as determined by the court.

Where a defendant is unavailable for trial and the DA exercises due diligence in seeking custody of the defendant, the time where defendant is unavailable is excluded in IAD calculation. A defendant incarcerated in another jurisdiction is deemed unavailable for the period of time during which his presence, despite the commonwealth’s duly diligent efforts, cannot otherwise be obtained.

Although Horne arrived in Pennsylvania on March 22, 2010, he was unavailable for trial in York County until Dec. 23, 2010, because he was incarcerated and awaiting trial in Franklin County during that time. Franklin County informed York County that York could take custody of Horne following sentencing in Franklin County. Additionally, York County kept in regular contact with the court in Franklin County to determine when Horne would be available for transfer. Thus, York County exercised due diligence in obtaining custody of Horne.

When Horne arrived in York County on Dec. 23, 2010, commonwealth had 120 days to bring him to trial. Commonwealth attempted to bring all four cases to trial on April 13, 2011, 111 days later. However, trial court dismissed Horne’s cases that day and commonwealth appealed. The period during which case was on appeal was excluded from IAD calculation because court of common pleas lacked jurisdiction during that time.

For purposes of IAD, the clock resumed tolling when trial court reheard Horne’s motion to dismiss on remand on March 23, 2012. Following denial of Horne’s motion to dismiss, commonwealth immediately requested a continuance, as the next trial term would fall outside the 120-day time restriction. The time during which trial court granted continuance was excluded from IAD calculation because commonwealth demonstrated good cause in seeking it.

Horne’s first trial began on April 2, 2012. From the time Horne became available for trial in York County to April 2, 2013, 112 days elapsed for purposes of the IAD. Thus, no violation of the IAD time restriction occurred,

Next, trial court did not err in denying Horne’s motion to dismiss based on speedy trial because the mechanical run date had not yet expired at the time of his last trial. Pa.R.Crim.P. 600 commenced tolling on Dec. 23, 2010 (the date York took custody of Horne) and continued for 111 days, until April 13, 2011, when commonwealth called the case for trial. The time during which the case was on appeal was excluded. Between Feb. 14, 2012, when Superior Court remanded, and May 14, 2012, when commonwealth called the last of Horne’s cases to trial, 91 days elapsed. Because the last of Horne’s cases began within 203 days of Horne becoming available for trial in York County, all of Horne’s cases took place within the 365-day limit.