State v. Maloney

State v. Maloney, 2015 MT 227 (Aug. 5, 2015) (Wheat, J.; Rice, J. concurring) (4-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether Maloney’s right to a speedy trial was violated as a result of excessive pretrial delays caused by the state; and (2) whether Maloney’s right to due process was violated as a result of excessive post-trial, pre-sentencing delays caused by the state.

Short Answer: (1) No, and (2) no.


Facts: Maloney was arrested April 2, 2013, following an incident at his house in Butte, as a result of which he was charged with five counts of felony criminal endangerment and two counts of felony assault on a peace officer. An information was filed May 1, 2013, and trial was scheduled for Oct. 7, 2013. On Aug. 27, 2013, Maloney moved to reschedule trial for “the earliest possible date” after October 7, and the district court rescheduled for Nov. 18, 2013.

On Nov. 8, 2013, Maloney pled guilty to one count of criminal endangerment and one count of assaulting a peace officer. The court ordered a PSI on Nov. 15, 2013. The probation officer delivered the PSI to the prosecutors on April 25, 2014, and on May 5, 2014, the state moved for a sentencing hearing date.

On March 26, 2013, about a week before his arrest in the instant case, Maloney was arrested and charged with DUI, fourth offense, in Jefferson County. He was released on bond March 27, 2013. At the time of this offense, Maloney was participating in Butte-Silver Bow DUI Court. After the DUI charge and the arrest in the instant case, the DUI Court issued a warrant for Maloney’s arrest. He was held without bond until his sentencing on May 17, 2013, at which time he was sentenced to six months at the Butte-Silver Bow detention center, with 38 days credit for time served. On Feb. 26, 2014, the Fifth Judicial District in Jefferson County sentenced Maloney to 13 months incarceration followed by a five-year suspended sentence.

Thus, during the time Maloney argues his rights were being violated by prosecutorial delay, he was serving time for other charges.

Procedural Posture & Holding: On May 5, 2014, Maloney moved to dismiss for lack of a speedy trial. The district court denied the motion June 2, 2014, and on July 17, 2014, sentenced Maloney to 30 years with five suspended. Maloney appeals the denial of his motion to dismiss, and the Supreme Court affirms. 

Reasoning: The district court applied the Ariegwe four-part balancing test to determine whether Maloney’s right to a speedy trial was violated. Subsequently, this Court concluded in Betterman that the right to a speedy trial does not apply to the sentencing period, and that instead, due process protects a defendant from unreasonable delay in sentencing. Rules of criminal procedure are applied retroactively to cases pending on direct review. This appeal was pending when the Court decided Betterman, and that is the standard the Court will apply.

(1) For the period between arrest and plea, the Court applies the Ariegwe factors and finds there were 220 days between Maloney’s arrest and his plea, which triggers speedy trial analysis. Maloney does not dispute that 32 days of he delay are attributable to his motion to continue the trial date. The record shows Maloney neither waived his speedy trial right nor was particularly active in enforcing it. Because Maloney pled guilty, pretrial delay did not prejudice his ability to mount a defense. On balance, the Court agrees that the state did not violate Maloney’s speedy trial rights.

(2) The Court next considers whether Maloney’s due process rights were violated by the delay in sentencing. This requires the balancing of two factors – whether the delay was purposeful, and whether it prejudiced the defendant such that it was oppressive. Maloney’s sentencing delay was 241 days, which the Court finds excessive. It appears to have been an institutional delay, based on waiting for the PSI. It appears to be an unintentional delay.

Maloney argues he was prejudiced by the delay in that it increased his anxiety, but the Court concludes the facts do not disclose substantial and demonstrative prejudice. Maloney’s due process rights were not violated by the sentencing delay.

Justice Rice’s Concurrence: Justice Rice would conclude it is unnecessary to carry out the Ariegwe analysis when it is uncontested that the delay attributable to the state is less than 200 days.