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04/29/91 WILLIAM C. PARKER v. UNITED STATES

April 29, 1991

WILLIAM C. PARKER, APPELLANT
v.
UNITED STATES, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia; Hon. Steffen W. Graae, Motions Judge, Hon. Frederick H. Weisberg, Trial Judge.

Ferren, Terry and Steadman, Associate Judges.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Steadman

Appellant, incarcerated in Maryland, was brought into the District of Columbia to be tried on two counts relating to a robbery with respect to which a detainer had been filed with the Maryland authorities. After his arrival in the District, the two robbery counts were dismissed with prejudice for failure to bring appellant to trial within the 180-day time limit specified in Art. III of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act ("IAD"), D.C. Code § 24-701 (1989). However, appellant while here was indicted on five additional counts covering unrelated crimes, and in a conditional plea pled guilty to three of those counts.

The principal issue on this appeal is whether the new counts were also subject to the time limit of Art. III, and thus should also have been dismissed with prejudice under the IAD. We hold that the time limit of Art. III did not apply to the new counts. We further hold that even if, under the provisions of the IAD, appellant should have been returned to Maryland upon the dismissal of the robbery counts and new proceedings begun for his redelivery here for trial on the new counts, no prejudice resulted from the failure to do so, and any violation was therefore harmless.

During April of 1988, appellant was incarcerated in Maryland. On April 8, 1988, a warrant for the arrest of appellant was issued by a Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, based on a complaint *fn1 and affidavit relating exclusively to the robbery of a United Airlines ticket office in the District. Several days later, the government caused a detainer to be lodged against appellant with the proper authorities in Maryland.

On November 2, 1988, appellant submitted a demand for Disposition of pending charges in the District of Columbia pursuant to Art. III of the IAD. *fn2 On March 14, 1989, the government filed with the Superior Court a "Petition for Writ of habeas corpus Ad Prosequendum," which was issued later that day by a Judge of that court. *fn3 On March 27, pursuant to that writ, appellant arrived in the District of Columbia.

On April 4, a two-count grand jury indictment was filed relating to the United Airlines incident. Trial was originally set for May 9 but postponed, over appellant's objection, so that the government could obtain a superseding indictment, containing both the original United Airlines counts and five additional counts based upon five robberies occurring in the same general time frame as the United Airlines robbery *fn4 but otherwise having no connection with it. On May 15, appellant filed a motion to dismiss the indictment, arguing that the government had failed to bring his case to trial within 180 days of his demand under Art. III. On May 17, the trial court heard appellant's motion seeking dismissal of the United Airlines counts, but the hearing was expanded to consider the question whether the additional counts in the superseding indictment, filed the previous day, had to be dismissed as well.

The trial court dismissed the United Airlines counts *fn5 but refused to dismiss the new counts in the indictment, ruling that the government's detainer and appellant's subsequent Art. III demand related only to the United Airlines counts. With respect to the new counts, the government and the trial court were apparently of the view that the 120-day time limit of Art. IV applied, *fn6 obliging the government to bring appellant to trial by July 25, 1989, that being 120 days after appellant's arrival in the District of Columbia on March 27. Appellant's demand to be returned to Maryland was denied. *fn7

A motion for reconsideration was subsequently denied, and appellant on July 10 pled guilty to three counts of the then pending indictment, *fn8 conditioned on his right to appeal the court's earlier refusal to dismiss the new counts on the ground that they, like the United Airlines counts, were subject to appellant's Art. III speedy trial rights under the IAD.

II

An examination of the language of the IAD clearly shows that the trial court was correct in refusing to dismiss the new counts as violative of rights of the appellant under Art. III of the IAD.

First, rights under Art. III come into being only when "there is pending in any other party State any untried indictment, information, or complaint on the basis of which a detainer has been lodged against the prisoner." Art. III(a). Thus, even an outstanding indictment in another state generates no Art. III rights in and of itself; the key is the lodging of a detainer based on that untried indictment. United States v. Mauro, 436 U.S. 340, 98 S. Ct. 1834, 56 L. Ed. 2d 329 (1978).

Second, even where a detainer has been filed against a prisoner, a "request for final Disposition" under Art. III(a) operates, according to its terms, as a request only "for final Disposition of all untried indictments, informations, or complaints on the basis of which detainers have been lodged against the prisoner from the State to whose prosecuting official the request for final Disposition is specifically directed." Art. III(d).

In conformity with these provisions, Art. V(c) provides that "in the event that an action on the indictment, information, or complaint on the basis of which the detainer has been lodged is not brought to trial within the [180-day] period provided in article III," that indictment, information, or complaint must *fn9 be dismissed with ...


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