Appeal from the District Court of Sweetwater County The Honorable Jere A. Ryckman, Judge
Before KITE, C.J., and GOLDEN, HILL, VOIGT, and BURKE, JJ.
NOTICE: This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in Pacific Reporter Third. Readers are requested to notify the Clerk of the Supreme Court, Supreme Court Building, Cheyenne, Wyoming 82002, of any typographical or other formal errors so that correction may be made before final publication in the permanent volume.
[¶1] After entering a conditional plea to one count of felony child abuse, Roman Vance (Vance) reserved his right to challenge the denial of his motion to dismiss, which was premised on grounds of constitutional speedy trial. On appeal, Vance claims that a six and one-half year delay between charging and arrest raised a presumption of prejudice that the State did not persuasively rebut. We agree, and reverse.
[¶2] Was Vance denied his constitutional right to speedy trial?
[¶3] On July 12, 2004, Vance was charged with one count of felony child abuse after he allegedly struck a 12-year-old boy in the eye. An arrest warrant issued on July 19, 2004.
[¶4] Sometime after that warrant issued, Vance moved to Idaho. There, he was arrested on separate charges, convicted and ultimately committed to the Idaho Department of Corrections until he was released on parole September 4, 2007. Vance completed his time on parole successfully and was discharged on October 12, 2010. Despite his time in the Idaho prison system, checks with the National Crime Investigation Computer (NCIC) did not reveal any outstanding warrant from Wyoming. This was due to the fact that the Sweetwater County arrest warrant had never been entered into the NCIC system.
[¶5] Over six years later, around September 2010, the Sweetwater County Sheriff's Office compiled a "top ten" list of the county's most wanted fugitives and included Vance on the list. The sheriff's office discovered that Vance's arrest warrant had never been entered into the NCIC system and immediately rectified the problem. On February 16, 2011, Vance was arrested in Boise, Idaho and transported to Sweetwater County, Wyoming to face the six-year-old Wyoming charge.
[¶6] Prior to trial, which was scheduled for August 9, 2011, Vance filed a speedy trial demand as well as a motion to dismiss based upon speedy trial grounds. The district court denied Vance's motion to dismiss and one day prior to trial, Vance entered a conditional "no contest" plea, reserving his right to challenge the denial of the motion to dismiss. The court imposed a sentence of 2 to 4 years, suspended in favor of two years supervised probation. This appeal followed.
[¶7] We have repeatedly stated that we review de novo the constitutional question as to whether or not an appellant was denied his right to speedy trial. Humphrey v. State, 2008 WY 67, ¶ 18, 185 P.3d 1236, 1243 (Wyo. 2008). Furthermore, we ...