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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:A Johnson County grand jury presented the indictment alleging burglary of a habitation against Shannon Kelly Hunt in June 2001. Hunt remained at large for almost nine months after he was indicted. Then, he was incarcerated in Mississippi for nearly two more years before he was released and made available to Texas authorities. He went to trial in October 2005. Hunt was in Texas for about eight months before trial. He made bail on Feb. 24, 2005. He appeared on April 21, 2005, without counsel and advised the court that he planned to retain an attorney. He appeared with counsel on May 2 and was given a scheduling order. At the scheduled May 19, 2005, pretrial hearing, Hunt asked that the case be “passed to the next pretrial hearing.” He made a similar request in June. At an August hearing, Hunt’s attorney announced that he was rejecting the state’s plea offer but suggested the matter could be resolved “based on some restitution that’s owed.” Thus, the case was again rescheduled. Hunt’s counsel appeared without him for a Sept. 6, 2005, hearing and informed the court that Hunt’s whereabouts were unknown. The court revoked Hunt’s appearance bond. A hearing was held two weeks later at which time the court was advised by the state that the matter could not be tried the following week but could be tried in the second week of October. After the court dismissed Hunt’s motion to dismiss on speedy trial grounds, Hunt pleaded guilty to burglary of a habitation. Pursuant to a plea bargain, the court sentenced him to eight years of imprisonment. Hunt contended in his sole issue that the court erred by denying his motion to dismiss. HOLDING:Affirmed. The court stated that it balanced four non-exclusive factors when considering speedy trial claims: 1. the length of the delay; 2. the reasons for the delay; 3. the timeliness of the assertion of the right to a speedy trial; and 4. any prejudice caused by the delay. Hunt argued that the state should have arranged for him to be returned to Texas sooner to face trial. The court began by noting Hunt’s trial was delayed by four years. As for the reasons for the delay, the court noted that Mississippi is not a signatory to the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act and refused to release Hunt to Texas custody until he had served his sentence. Hunt’s remaining at large for almost nine months after his indictment and his subsequent incarceration in Mississippi should not be held against the state, the court stated. Moreover, the court noted that Hunt was in Texas for about eight months before trial. After reviewing the proceedings from the time Hunt made bail in February 2005 until trial, the court presumed that the court attributed most of the delay during this period to Hunt. Hunt asserted his right to a speedy trial on several occasions. However, the court found that: he only requested dismissals on these occasions; the state was unable to grant two of his requests due to his out-of-state incarceration; and he did not assert his right to a speedy trial after arriving in Texas until the day of trial. Therefore, the court found that those factor weighed against a finding of a speedy trial violation, “although not heavily.” As for a finding of prejudice, Hunt contended that he was prejudiced by the delay because: 1. a neighbor whom he identifies in his brief as a “potentially exculpatory witness” died; 2. he was unable to locate several unnamed witnesses; 3. he was unable to obtain any records from his employer at the time of the burglary that would allegedly establish that he was somewhere else when the offense was committed; and 4. his classification by the Mississippi Department of Corrections was changed, because of the Texas felony charge, he was moved from a minimum security unit to a maximum security unit, and he was denied a number of inmate privileges he would have retained at the minimum security unit. To establish prejudice because of an unavailable witness, the court stated that a defendant must show that the witness is unavailable, that her testimony might be material and relevant to his case, and that he has exercised due diligence in his attempt to find her and produce her for trial. The court found that Hunt’s nonspecific testimony that the allegedly unavailable witnesses and employment records could establish that he was somewhere else when the offense was committed did not satisfy this requirement. With regard to the change in Hunt’s inmate classification by the Mississippi Department of Corrections, the court found that this occurred because Hunt was charged with an additional felony offense and not because of any delay in his Texas trial. The court again noted that Mississippi refused to relinquish custody of Hunt until he had served his sentence. Accordingly, the “prejudice” factor weighed against a finding of a speedy trial violation. In conclusion, the court found the analysis of Hunt’s case under the four-factor balancing test weighed against finding a speedy-trial violation. OPINION:Reyna, J.; Gray, C.J., and Vance and Reyna, JJ.

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