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State v. Lewis

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District

November 30, 2017

STATE OF MISSOURI, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
RYAN ANTONIO LEWIS, Defendant-Appellant.

         APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF GREENE COUNTY Honorable Thomas E. Mountjoy

          OPINION

          GARY W. LYNCH, J.

         A jury found Ryan Antonio Lewis ("Defendant") guilty of robbery in the first degree and armed criminal action. See sections 569.020 and 571.015, respectively.[1] On appeal, Defendant argues that "[t]he trial court erred in overruling [Defendant's] motion to dismiss" because Defendant had "vigorously" and repeatedly asserted his right to and request for a speedy trial but trial was not held until 19 months after his request. After careful consideration of the factors at issue, Defendant's point is denied, and his convictions are affirmed.

         Standard of Review

         "[W]hile the trial court's factual findings are subject to deferential review, this Court will review de novo whether [Defendant's] Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial was violated." State v. Sisco, 458 S.W.3d 304, 313 (Mo. banc 2015).

         Factual and Procedural Background

         Defendant does not challenge the sufficiency of the evidence to support his convictions. We, therefore, limit our recitation of the facts only to those necessary to resolve Defendant's point, and we glean those facts by viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the finding of guilt, State v. Taylor, 298 S.W.3d 482, 491 (Mo. banc 2009). The chronology of relevant events leading up to trial were as follows:

Date

Event

July 30, 2014

Charged date of alleged offenses.

August 3, 2014

Defendant was arrested.

August 19, 2014

Although represented by public defender Chastain, [2] Defendant pro se filed a motion for disclosure of discovery and a request for speedy trial.[3]

September 11, 2014

Preliminary hearing held and Defendant bound over for arraignment in circuit court. Circuit court case assigned to Judge Holden.

September 16, 2014

Defendant pro se filed a motion for disclosure of discovery and a request for speedy trial.

September 18, 2014

State filed “Discovery response to defendant without court order.”

September 19, 2014

Defendant arraigned on information and case set for pre-trial conference on October 20, 2014.

October 20, 2014

Case set for complex pre-trial conference on December 9, 2014.

December 9, 2014

Case reset for complex pre-trial conference on January 13, 2015.

December 31, 2014

Defendant pro se filed a “Motion to Excuse Counsel For Ineffective Assistance of Counsel” claiming among other things that his public defender “induced defendant to believe that defendant did not have a right to a Speedy Trial” and denied Defendant's demand “for his counsel to enforce all his pro-se motions already filed by defendant[.]” Defendant also filed a pro se motion to proceed as co-counsel.[4]

January 13, 2015

Case reset for complex pre-trial conference on February 9, 2015.

January 14, 2015

Defendant pro se filed a motion for ineffective assistance of counsel.

January 15, 2015

By order of the Presiding Judge, case is assigned to Judge Jones.

March 16, 2015

By docket entry the trial court found that “Defendant is well represented by the Public Defender's Office” and denied all outstanding pro se motions because Defendant was represented by counsel.

March 26, 2015

Defendant pro se filed a “Motion to Dismiss with Prejudice, ” because trial had not taken place as requested in his motion for speedy trial.

March 27, 2015

Defendant pro se filed a “Motion to Proceed Pro-Se (Defendant Opt to Represent Himself).”

April 3, 2015

Trial court held a hearing on Defendant's motion to proceed pro se and, at Defendant's request, ordered a private psychological evaluation.[5] The trial court also set a jury trial for August 24, 2015.

April 13, 2015

Defendant pro se filed a motion to dismiss the public defender's office due to a conflict of interest. Defendant pro se also filed a motion for change of judge.

April 14, 2015

Judge Jones recused on own motion. August 24, 2015 trial setting was cancelled. Case assigned to Judge Mountjoy.

May 7, 2015

Defendant pro se filed a second motion to dismiss the public defender's office due to a conflict of interest.

May 18, 2015

Defendant pro se filed a motion for change of judge.

June 11, 2015

Defendant pro se filed a second motion to proceed pro se.

June 23, 2015

Defendant pro se filed a motion for ineffective assistance of counsel.

June 25, 2015

Defendant pro se filed a second “Motion to Dismiss with Prejudice[, ]” which again alleged that he had been denied a speedy trial despite his motions for such.

July 22, 2015

At the request of the parties, the trial court set the case for jury trial on December 14, 2015.

October 14, 2015

Defendant pro se filed another motion for speedy trial.

October 29, 2015

Defendant pro se filed a motion for a Faretta hearing.[6]

November 4, 2015

Faretta hearing set for November 20, 2015.

November 12, 2015

Defendant pro se filed a request for change of judge alleging that the trial judge “refuses to take notice of Defendant's complaints against counsel's ineffectiveness.”

November 20, 2015

State and Defendant's counsel appeared before the trial court and the Faretta hearing was reset for December 3, 2015, without any objection being noted in the record.

November 30, 2015

Defendant pro se filed another “Motion to Dismiss with Prejudice” based on noncompliance with his earlier motion for speedy trial.

December 2, 2015

State and Defendant's counsel appeared before the trial court and the December 3, 2015 Faretta hearing and December 14, 2015 jury trial were ordered quashed, without any objection being noted in the record.

December 7, 2015

Private counsel for Defendant, Robert McGee, entered his appearance.

December 8, 2015

Defendant's private counsel McGee filed Request of Discovery.

December 10, 2015

Public defender Chastain was granted leave by the trial court to withdraw as Defendant's counsel.

December 18, 2015

At the State's request, the trial court sets the case for jury trial on January 11, 2016.

January 7, 2016

At a pretrial conference, the State's oral motion for continuance was granted over Defendant's objection, and the jury trial was reset to February 8, 2016.

February 4, 2015

The parties appeared and announced ready for trial. The trial court set the case for jury trial on February 9, 2015, as a #1 setting.

February 8, 2016

By docket entry, the trial court notes that the case was not reached for jury trial and reset the case for jury trial starting March 14, 2016. Defendant's private counsel McGee filed a “Motion to Dismiss for Violation of Defendant's Right to Fast and Speedy Trial” alleging that Defendant had not received a trial as requested.

March 1, 2016

Hearing held on Defendant's “Motion to Dismiss for Violation of Defendant's Right to Fast and Speedy Trial[.]”

March 7, 2016

By docket entry, the trial court overruled Defendant's motion for speedy trial.

         A jury trial began on March 14, 2016, wherein the State adduced evidence that Defendant held a knife to William Pierceall's throat and, with the help of accomplices, took Pierceall's belongings. Based on the State's evidence, the jury found Defendant guilty of robbery in the first degree and armed criminal action. The trial court sentenced Defendant as a prior and persistent offender to life imprisonment for robbery and thirty years' imprisonment for armed criminal action with both sentences to be served concurrently. Defendant timely appeals.

         Discussion

         Lewis's sole point relied on contends that "[t]he trial court erred in overruling [Defendant's] motion to dismiss" because Defendant had "vigorously" and repeatedly asserted his right to and request for a speedy trial but trial was not held until nineteen months after his request.

Determining whether a defendant's right to a speedy trial has been violated requires a balancing of four factors: (1) the length of delay; (2) the reason for the delay; (3) the defendant's assertion of his right; and (4) the prejudice to the defendant resulting from the delay. The existence of any one of these factors is neither necessary nor sufficient to finding a deprivation of the right to a speedy trial. Rather, courts must ... engage in a difficult and sensitive balancing process.

Sisco, 458 S.W.3d at 313 (citing Barker v. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514, 530, 92 S.Ct. 2182, 33 L.Ed.2d 101 (1972), but omitting internal quotation marks and other citations).

         The ...


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