Judgments: Speedy Trial: Appeal and Error.
Ordinarily, a trial court's determination as to whether
charges should be dismissed on speedy trial grounds is a
factual question which will be affirmed on appeal unless
Judgments: Statutes: Appeal and Error. To
the extent an appeal calls for statutory interpretation or
presents questions of law, an appellate court must reach an
independent conclusion irrespective of the determination made
by the court below.
Speedy Trial: Prisoners. The statutory
procedure under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 29-3805 (Reissue
2016), rather than the procedure under Neb. Rev. Stat. §
29-1207 (Reissue 2016), applies to instate prisoners.
Judgments: Appeal and Error. A correct
result will not be set aside merely because the lower court
applied the wrong reasoning in reaching that result.
Good Cause: Words and Phrases. Good cause
means a substantial reason; one that affords a legal excuse.
__:__. Good cause is something that must be substantial, but
also a factual question dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
from the District Court for Hall County: William T. Wright,
A. Piccolo, Hall County Public Defender, for appellant.
Douglas J. Peterson, Attorney General, and Kimberly A. Klein
Neb. 232] Heavican, C.J., Wright, Miller-Lerman, Cassel,
Stacy. Kelch, and Funke, JJ.
G. Kolbjornsen appeals from a criminal case order denying
relief under two different "speedy trial"
statutes.Because Kolbjornsen was a Nebraska prisoner
at all relevant times, only one statute applied-the one
governing intrastate detainers. We conclude that the district
court's determination that courtroom unavailability
established good cause to extend the time in which to try
Kolbjornsen was not clearly erroneous, and we affirm.
September 2014, Kolbjornsen began serving sentences imposed
for criminal offenses committed in Hamilton County, Nebraska.
Approximately 2 months later, the State filed a complaint in
the county court for Hall County, alleging that Kolbjornsen
committed assault on a peace officer in the third degree. On
December 16, the State received a letter from the Department
of Correctional Services stating that Kolbjornsen was
requesting a quick and speedy disposition of two untried
charges, one of which was the charge for assault on a peace
officer in the third degree. The State later amended the
charge to assault by a confined person, and Kolbjornsen was
bound over to the district court after a preliminary hearing.
On March 3, 2015, the State filed an information charging
Kolbjornsen with assault by a confined person.
2015, the State filed a motion requesting the district court
to advance Kolbjornsen's trial "for speedy trial
requirements" and requesting a hearing date as soon as
possible. During a hearing on the motion, the court stated
that it would [295 Neb. 233] advance the trial from August
until May 27 or 28. On May 22. Kolbjornsen moved for
continuance, stating that the defense was not ready to
proceed to trial. The district court thereafter granted the
motion and continued the matter until August 26.
August 12, 2015, the district court held a final plea
hearing. During the hearing, Kolbjornsen's counsel stated
that Kolbjornsen did not "have a problem" if his
trial was not held in August. The court explained that
various jury courtrooms were going to be unavailable during
renovations to the building, including the courtroom in which
Kolbjornsen's trial was to be held. After the bailiff
said "no jury trials" for October and November,
Kolbjornsen's counsel asked, "Could we shoot for
October . . . and see if something breaks[?]" The court
responded, "Well, basically, what we have been told is
nothing is available for October." The court continued
the trial until December 16.
December 7, 2015, Kolbjornsen filed two motions. One motion
requested absolute discharge under § 29-1207. The other
motion sought to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction
under § 29-3805.
a hearing on the motions before Judge William T. Wright, the
district court received exhibits and heard testimony of
witnesses. Evidence established that the district court for
Hall County had two district courtrooms large enough to
accommodate jury trials and that those courtrooms were shared
by three district judges. In 2015, Hall County began repairs
within the courthouse and repairs to the courtrooms were
scheduled to begin in October. The courtrooms were
unavailable while being repaired. Since October, only one
jury courtroom was available for all district court cases.
Each of the three district judges was assigned specific dates
to conduct jury trials during October through December. The
evidence showed that Judge Wright conducted a criminal jury
trial for a different individual on August 26 and 27. Judge
Wright's bailiff stated in an affidavit that the judge
was scheduled to preside over 26 criminal jury trials for
June through August in Hall County [295 Neb. 234] and 27 such
trials for September through December. The bailiff stated
that Judge Wright also was presiding over additional cases in
Buffalo County during those times, in addition to civil cases
in both Hall County and Buffalo County. The bailiff stated
that "all hearings and trials were calendared and
docketed at the earliest . . . date available to the court
for such purpose" and that "there weren't any
earlier available dates to set this case for hearings or
district court denied Kolbjornsen's motions. The court
found that renovations caused one of the two district court
courtrooms to be unusable for jury trials for substantial
periods. The order stated that repairs to courtrooms in which
jury trials could be held were scheduled to begin in October
2015. that the repairs had not been completed at the time of
the order, and that the courtrooms were not available for use
while being repaired. The order further stated that from
October 25 to the end of 2015, only one jury courtroom was
available for all district court cases due to repair work.
The court found that all three of the district judges were
using one jury courtroom during the months of October,
November, and December, and that each district judge was
assigned specific dates to conduct jury trials within that
timeframe. As to Kolbjornsen's motion under §
29-1207, the court determined that the period from August 26
to December 16 should be excluded under § 29-1207(4)(b)
and (f). With regard to Kolbjornsen's motion under §
29-3805, the court found that the reasons it gave on August
12 to continue the matter to ...