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Price v. State

Decided: June 18, 1964.

PRICE
v.
STATE



Appeal from the Circuit Court for Kent County (RASIN, J.).

The cause was argued before Brune, C.J., and Henderson, Hammond, Horney and Marbury, JJ.

Marbury

MARBURY, J., delivered the opinion of the Court.

This appeal is from a judgment and sentence in which appellant was required to make restitution in the sum of $60 and to be confined in the Maryland House of Correction for a period of four years from June 24, 1963.

On May 24, 1962, a warrant was issued by the trial magistrate for Kent County for the arrest of the appellant in connection with a certain check he had allegedly forged and uttered the previous year, on or about July 13, 1961, at Colonial Jewelers, Inc. in Chestertown. On September 3, 1963, more than fifteen months after the warrant had been issued, appellant was presented and indicted by the grand jury on three counts of forgery, uttering, and false pretenses. A bench warrant was issued from the Circuit Court for Kent County and returned cepi the following day. After some preliminary motions made in behalf of the appellant, including one to dismiss the third

count charging false pretenses, which was granted, he was arraigned on September 17, 1963, and pleaded not guilty to the remaining counts. The case came on for trial before Judge Rasin on October 1, 1963, the appellant having elected a court trial, and he was found guilty on both counts.

As to what occurred between May 24, 1962, when the first warrant was issued and June 24, 1963, is not entirely clear. According to the appellant, unsubstantiated by the record other than by parts of his own testimony, he claims that on or about August 11, 1961, he was taken into custody (apparently for another offense). On October 26, 1961, he was transferred from the Maryland Penitentiary to the House of Correction. Paroled June 24, 1963, appellant was immediately arrested by the state police and taken to the county jail in Centreville, Queen Anne's County. The following day, June 25th, he was removed to the Kent County jail in Chestertown. He alleged that he was never informed of the warrant for his arrest issued more than a year before yet he stated he had made efforts while incarcerated to find out what charges, if any, were lodged against him in Kent County.

Substantially upon these allegations appellant bases a contention of denial of a speedy trial citing both the Maryland Constitution (Declaration of Rights, Article 21) and the Federal Constitution (Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments). There are, however, three obstacles to the success of this contention. First is that the question seems not to have been adequately presented to the trial court for determination. Appellant, represented by counsel, testified in his own behalf, and the court, in allowing a wide latitude of examination, permitted him to delve into matters not directly in issue. Included in this testimony (along with statements such as his having been kidnapped by the Kent County police from the Queen Anne's County jail) was an account of appellant's efforts to become informed of the Kent County charges while he was in the House of Correction.

Aside from this testimony alluding to an unreasonable delay in the proceedings, the only other reference in the record before us to a denial of a speedy trial is a statement by the

trial judge that the accused was responsible for any delay there might have been in his having been brought to trial.

We think there is no doubt that Judge Rasin was referring to the time between June 24 when appellant was arrested and taken to Queen Anne's County jail and the date of his trial on October 1st. In his brief appellant states he is not complaining of the time period during which he was imprisoned in Kent County awaiting indictment and trial. The record does not disclose that the trial court at any stage of the proceedings was asked specifically to rule on the question of denial of speedy trial. This privilege of a right to be tried without unreasonable delays, like other ...


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