State v. Thompson, 2015 MT 279 (Sept. 18, 2015) (McKinnon, J.; Wheat, J., dissenting) (4-1, aff’d)
Issue: Whether the justice court had good cause to conduct Thompson’s trial after the six-month deadline provided by statute.
Short Answer: Yes.
Facts: The state charged Thompson with DUI on Oct. 11, 2011, and that same day he pled not guilty in justice court. He appeared with counsel at the omnibus hearing Dec. 27, 2011, and requested a jury trial. The justice court set trial for March 22, 2012, with a pretrial conference March 16, 2012. The notice stated the defendant was required to personally attend the pretrial conference, and if he failed to do so he would be deemed to have waived his right to a jury trial, and jus trial date would be vacated and reset for a bench trial at the next available time.…