from the District Court of Laramie County The Honorable
Steven K. Sharpe, Judge
Representing Appellant: Diane E. Courselle, Faculty Director,
and Alan Davis, Student Intern, of the University of Wyoming
Defender Aid Program, Laramie, Wyoming. Argument by Mr.
Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Wyoming Attorney
General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General;
Christyne M. Martens, Senior Assistant Attorney General;
Caitlin F. Young, Assistant Attorney General. Argument by Ms.
BURKE, C.J., and HILL, DAVIS, FOX, and KAUTZ, JJ.
Appellant Jeffery Allen Lafferty was incarcerated awaiting
trial for 811 days before pleading guilty to two counts of
taking indecent liberties with his minor stepdaughter. Mr.
Lafferty argues on appeal that his constitutional right to a
speedy trial was violated. We affirm.
Was Mr. Lafferty denied his constitutional right to a speedy
Case Initially Filed – Docket No. 31-585
The saga began on November 2, 2012, when the State charged
Mr. Lafferty with one count of first-degree sexual abuse of a
minor and arrested him. The Information alleged that Mr.
Lafferty, the minor T.L.'s guardian, inflicted sexual
intrusion on her by digital penetration of her vagina
sometime between January 1, 2010 and June 30, 2010.
Mr. Lafferty's preliminary hearing in circuit court was
set for November 9, 2012. He appeared before the court that
day, but the hearing did not take place, apparently because
he did not yet have an attorney. It was continued to November
16. By that time, Mr. Lafferty had been appointed counsel and
elected to waive a speedy preliminary hearing. The
preliminary hearing was then continued to November 30, 2012,
then to January 18, 2013, and then again to February 8, 2013.
On February 4, Mr. Lafferty waived his right to the
preliminary hearing entirely. After ninety-six days from his
arrest, the case was bound over to the district court.
Arraignment was held on February 21, 2013. Mr. Lafferty pled
not guilty, and the district court set a trial date of June
A month later, on March 18, 2013, Mr. Lafferty filed a demand
for a speedy trial as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment of
the United States Constitution, Wyoming Constitution Art. 1
§ 10, and Wyoming Rule of Criminal Procedure 48.
Following a May 2013 scheduling conference, the district
court was told that a plea agreement was on the horizon, so
it set the case for a change of plea hearing on June 13,
2013, and it also vacated the trial date. At the hearing on
June 13, Mr. Lafferty decided not to change his plea because
he wanted more time to think about the plea agreement he had
Accordingly, trial was again reset for July 8, 2013, and a
tentative change of plea hearing was scheduled for June 19,
2013. June 19 passed without Mr. Lafferty changing his plea.
The next day, June 20, another scheduling conference was
held, and Mr. Lafferty's trial was left on the July 8
criminal stack. Throughout the next few weeks, counsel and
the judge kept in contact about whether the case would be
tried or pled out, and for reasons that are not clear in the
record, trial did not take place on July 8.
Then, on July 31, 2013, the State moved to dismiss the case
without prejudice pursuant to W.R.Cr.P. 48(a) because victim
T.L. had disclosed information supporting additional charges,
and another victim had come forward. The State filed
additional charges in a different docket. The district court
granted the motion to dismiss the same day.
Second Case with New Charges - Docket No. 31-757
Prior to dismissing the charge in Docket No. 31-585, the
State filed an Information charging Mr. Lafferty with eight
counts arising from various sexual acts with another minor
victim, his stepdaughter L.W., in Docket No. 31-757 on June
28, 2013. Later realizing an error had been made in the
Information, on July 2, 2013 the State amended it to change
the identity of the minor victim in count eight from L.W. to
T.L. The eight counts set forth in the amended information
• Count I: Third degree sexual abuse of a minor, L.W.,
who was less than fourteen years old at the time, by fondling
her breasts in June of 1998;
• Count II: Third degree sexual abuse of L.W. This count
alleged that Mr. Lafferty inflicted sexual contact on the
victim by rubbing her vaginal area in June of 1998;
• Count III: Immoral or indecent liberties with L.W., by
exposing her to pornography in January of 1991;
• Count IV: Third degree sexual abuse of L.W. by
fondling her breasts in January of 1991;
• Count V: Third degree sexual abuse of L.W by rubbing
her vaginal area in January of 1991;
• Count VI: Third degree sexual abuse of L.W. by
touching her vaginal area in February of 1996;
• Count VII: Incest as to L.W. This count alleged that
Mr. Lafferty engaged in sexual intercourse with his
stepdaughter in May of 2002;
• Count VIII: First degree sexual abuse of a minor,
T.L., by engaging in sexual intercourse with her on December
7, 2011, while he was her guardian.
that the charge concerning T.L. in Count VIII is different
than the charge in the first case, Docket No. 31-585, which
was dismissed about the time the Information just described
On July 1, 2013, Mr. Lafferty was served with a warrant for
his arrest on the above eight charges while still in jail on
Docket No. 31-585. As a result, he remained in jail
continuously after the State dismissed the first case.
The circuit court held a preliminary hearing on the new
Information on July 11, 2013, and Mr. Lafferty was bound over
for trial on all charges. He filed a demand for speedy trial
in the district court on July 30, 2013. He was arraigned on
August 1, 2013, and pled not guilty to all counts. Trial was
set for October 21, 2013.
There was supposed to be a scheduling conference on September
26, 2013, but defense counsel moved twice to vacate and reset
it because of conflicts with his schedule. The district court
granted the requests, resetting the conference to October 17,
2013. The trial date was subsequently vacated and reset to
November 4, 2013.
Third Case – The Original Charge Refiled – Docket
On September 4, 2013, the State refiled the charge that had
been dismissed in Docket No. 31-585; that is, the charge
alleging that Mr. Lafferty inflicted first degree sexual
abuse upon T.L. in 2010. The circuit court held a preliminary
hearing on this charge on September 16, 2013, and the case
was bound over to the district court for trial. Mr. Lafferty
then filed a demand for speedy trial on September 23, 2013.
On October 4, 2013, the district court arraigned him on the
refiled charge in Docket No. 31-819, and he pled not guilty.
At the arraignment, the district court expressed its
intention to set the trial for January 13, 2014, but defense
counsel requested that it instead be set in early February.
Mr. Lafferty voiced concern about his counsel's proposal,
and referred to his speedy trial rights. The State echoed Mr.
Lafferty's concerns and also requested that the trial be
held in January. Defense counsel explained that he could not
be present for trial in January, and that therefore new
defense counsel would need to take over if trial took place
then. Based upon what it heard from all parties, the district
court set Mr. Lafferty's case for trial on February 3,
2014. As explained below, that trial date would also be
of Docket Nos. 31-757 and 31-819 and the Rest of the
On October 24, 2013, the State moved to join Docket Nos.
31-757 and 31-819, asserting that the charges in each could
have been filed in a single information. The district court
agreed and granted the motion to join the cases on October
On November 5, 2013, the court vacated and reset both dockets
so they would be tried together on December 2, 2013. On
November 21, 2013, the court held a scheduling conference,
during which Mr. Lafferty's new public defender (his
second attorney) indicated that he would enter into a plea
agreement and change his plea. Defense counsel also suggested
that his client would be willing to waive a speedy