JOSHUA C. OSBAN, Appellant (Defendant),
THE STATE OF WYOMING, Appellee (Plaintiff).
from the District Court of Laramie County The Honorable
Thomas T.C. Campbell, Judge
Representing Appellant: Mitch Guthrie, Attorney at Law,
Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Attorney General;
Christyne Martens, Deputy Attorney General; Caitlin F.
Harper, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Russell Farr,
Senior Assistant Attorney General. Argument by Mr. Farr.
DAVIS, C.J., and FOX, KAUTZ, BOOMGAARDEN, and GRAY, JJ.
J., delivers the opinion of the Court; KAUTZ, J., files a
dissenting opinion, in which BOOMGAARDEN, J., joins.
A jury convicted Joshua C. Osban of possession of
methamphetamine. Mr. Osban appeals his conviction, arguing
the State failed to bring him to trial within 180 days
following his arraignment as required by Wyoming Rule of
Criminal Procedure 48. He also claims the district court
should have suppressed the methamphetamine found in a
container inside his truck because the search of the
container was unreasonable. We reverse.
Mr. Osban raises two issues:
I. Whether Mr. Osban's right to a speedy trial under
W.R.Cr.P. 48 was violated when his trial commenced 194 days
after his arraignment.
II. Whether the district court erred when it denied Mr.
Osban's motion to suppress the methamphetamine officers
discovered in his truck.
we reverse on the speedy trial issue, we do not address the
motion to suppress.
Cheyenne Police Officer Jonathan Smith responded to a report
that a man had fired a gun at a party. When he arrived at the
scene, the homeowner told Officer Smith that her ex-husband,
Mr. Osban, had come to the house and argued with her
boyfriend, Christopher Cash. She said the argument ended when
Mr. Osban shot a gun at Mr. Cash and then drove away. Another
witness told Officer Smith that she saw some mud splatter
beside Mr. Cash's leg after the shot was fired. Officers
found a .22 Super X casing in the area where witnesses
indicated Mr. Osban had fired the shot.
Mr. Osban was later apprehended at his home, and a search
revealed a .22 caliber pistol, cartridges, and
methamphetamine. The State charged Mr. Osban with one count
of aggravated assault and battery, in violation of Wyo. Stat.
Ann. § 6-2-502(a)(i) (LexisNexis 2017), and one count of
possession of methamphetamine, in violation of Wyo. Stat.
Ann. § 35-7-1031(c)(ii) (LexisNexis 2017). Mr. Osban
filed a demand for speedy trial, and he pleaded not guilty to
both charges at his arraignment on May 5, 2017. In its
criminal case management order, the district court
acknowledged that Mr. Osban's 180-day trial deadline
under Rule 48 would run on November 1, 2017, and it set Mr.
Osban's trial for August 14, 2017. The district court
later reset the trial for October 16, 2017.
On October 2, 2017, the State filed a petition to revoke Mr.
Osban's bond after he tested positive for methamphetamine
and alcohol. On October 5, 2017, the district court ordered
the clerk of court to issue a bench warrant, which it did the
next day. Defense counsel met with Mr. Osban and informed him
it was important he turn himself in to law enforcement in
order to maintain the October 16, 2017 trial date. On October
12, 2017, Mr. Osban surrendered himself at the Laramie County
Detention Center, where he was served with the warrant. The
next day, Mr. Osban's counsel filed a notice that the
bench warrant had been executed and Mr. Osban was in custody.
Later that day, counsel was informed by district court staff
that Mr. Osban's October 16, 2017 trial date had been
vacated. Written notice of the vacated trial setting was not
filed until October 25, 2017, when an order on scheduling
conference and an order resetting the jury trial were filed.
The latter order stated the October 16, 2017 trial had been
vacated because Mr. Osban had "absconded in violation of
his bond," and both orders reset the trial for November
13, 2017. On November 6, 2017, Mr. Osban filed a motion to
dismiss the charges against him because his trial had not
taken place on or before November 1, 2017-his Rule 48
deadline. On November 9, 2017, the district court held a
hearing on the matter and denied the motion. The district
court determined it had not violated Rule 48(b) because when
a warrant is issued, the "defendant is unavailable"
for trial. It also mentioned that the trial stack required
the continuance in the due administration of justice.
After being reset one last time, Mr. Osban's trial
commenced on November 15, 2017. The jury convicted him of
possessing methamphetamine but acquitted him of the
aggravated assault and battery charge. The district court
sentenced Mr. Osban to two to five years of imprisonment but
suspended the sentence in favor of three years of supervised
probation. Mr. Osban filed a timely notice of appeal.
48 Speedy Trial
Mr. Osban claims his right to a speedy trial was violated
when the district court sua sponte vacated the
October 16, 2017 trial setting without giving him an
opportunity to object, resulting in his trial taking place
after the 180-day deadline required by W.R.Cr.P.
48(b). Mr. Osban filed a motion to dismiss on
this basis, and the district court denied the motion. We
review speedy trial claims under Rule 48 de novo.
Castellanos v. State, 2016 WY 11, ¶ 48, 366
P.3d 1279, 1294 (Wyo. 2016).
The constitutional right to a speedy trial has amorphous
contours. Barker v. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514, 522, 92
S.Ct. 2182, 2188, 33 L.Ed.2d 101 (1972). The purpose of
W.R.Cr.P. 48, and similar rules across the country, is to
provide structure to that right. See Castellanos,
2016 WY 11, ¶ 49, 366 P.3d at 1294. The rule's
provisions "are mandatory." Rodiack v.
State, 2002 WY 137, ¶ 9, 55 P.3d 1, 3 (Wyo. 2002)
(citations omitted). The rule provides for trial within 180
days of arraignment, with certain exceptions. Mr. Osban was
arraigned on May 5, 2017, and the district court acknowledged